Bella sante strikes the right combination of peaceful spa (fruit-infused water, plush furnishings) and briskly run business (in and done in half an hour). Technicians prune and preen nails into such pristine condition it's almost a shame to cover them with polish — but those who do will walk out with lacquered tops strong enough to endure several days worth of wear and tear. 38 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, bellasante.com.
Engagement announcements, invitations, programs: Set the tone you want with a little help from Rugg Road. At this Beacon Hill boutique, you'll find a staggering selection—traditional Crane's, contemporary letterpress, or custom creations—inspiring samples, and an amicable staff to guide you should you decide to stray from the standard black-on-ivory motif. 105 Charles St., Boston, MA ruggroadpaper.com/.
While these days any clothing boutique worth its counter-side Hanky Panky display boasts a 'denim wall,' none can touch the selection at the downtown Barneys. The racks and tables and shelves of jeans include the blue-chip (True Religion, Paper Denim & Cloth), the hard-to-find (Acne, Edun), and the affordable (J Brand, Cheap Monday). Bargain hunters salivate over the store's semi-annual sale, which recently saw a pair of $300 Ksubis go for less than $60. 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, barneys.com.
Whether it's being plundered by humorless airport security or punted down the escalator in frustration by its God-awfully delayed owner, today's luggage had better be tough. Samsonite's Copley boutique has manifold takes on the luggage maker's famed durability: hard- and soft-shelled suitcases, totes, weekenders, handbags, and wallets (many done in collaboration with couturiers like Alexander McQueen). Don't miss the chance to tap the staff's encyclopedic knowledge of airport regs and size restrictions while you're at it. Copley Place, Boston, MA 2116, .
Some things just get better with age—especially at Second Time Around, where last year's splurges are today's total steal. Sort through racks of gently used Gucci, BCBG Max Azria, and Dolce & Gabbana pants, suits, tops, and jeans, all at a fraction of their original prices and none more than two years old. Staffers are as helpful as they are fashion-conscious, and can often tell you the history of the designer suit they're ringing up. 176 Newbury St., Boston, MA secondtimearound.net/.
No wonder fashion retailers from DKNY to Intermix use Fit. The high-quality workmanship that comes out of this elegantly appointed Newbury Street tailor shop is downright untouchable. But much of owner Lyudmila Sletkova's work is done for consumers who need an experienced hand on complex projects such as taking in a wedding dress, overhauling a crepe suit, or relining linen pants. She can update an old shift dress with new lines, or stitch up a tux lickety split. 268 Newbury St., Boston, MA bestfitinc.com/.
Legendary Scottish golf architect Donald Ross designed this shotsmakers course in 1931 with an emphasis on strategy and placement instead of distance and punishment. Coures manager Bill Flynn rescued GW from dereliction in the 1970s by restoring it with an eye to Ross' original intentions. Club professional Don Lyons has gone out of his way to make GW a nurturing environment for learners, going so far as to offer free lessons to kids. 420 West Street, Hyde Park, MA .
Feeling flabby, unmotivated, and bored with your workout? Charming, funny, and committed to making you crank it, Vasconcellos won't let you off easy, but you'll hardly know it. And you'll see results in a matter of days. Dave can help you drop pounds, gain muscle, and tone up through proper weight training, aerobics, and nutrition tips. He'll also build your confidence like a personal cheerleader. 30 Park Ave., Arlington, MA .
The man is the patron saint of peroxide. He brings his artistic vision (he's also a creator of eccentric decorative "wigs" made from leaves, twigs, and pine cones) to every mousy brunette yearning to be bombshell-blond. His chunky foils are cutting edge and to die for. Whether you want highlights or a complete hydraulic overhaul, Steven Doherty will give you the look that nature should have intended. Ecocentrix, 30 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
A constant stream of stylish singles flows through the doors of Gypsy Bar on weekends, where they entertain themselves before the eye-catching glow of the video-screen wall with cocktails such as the Deception martini. Behind the bar, an illuminated aquarium offers a conversation starter for the well-groomed men and stiletto-heeled women who flock here. Once they hit the dance floor, however, most of them find the music so loud that there's no need for small talk. 116 Boylston St., Boston, MA gypsybarboston.com/.
Once again, China Pearl has proven itself the gem in an otherwise lackluster world of Hub dim sum. Quite simply, this Chinatown eatery has more seating, more circulating food carts, tastier morsels on the carts and fresher ingredients in the morsels. Don't underestimate the value of freshness in the sea of warmed-over Chinese-food impersonations. 9 Tyler St., Boston, MA .
Taiwan Café's light-as-a-feather handmade pan-fried dumplings, delicious tilapia braised with scallions and spicy bean curd, or garlicky sautéed watercress are a welcome change from the heavy-handed dishes found at many joints in Chinatown. And they're only a few of the 80 items on the diverse menu. Diners with a bold streak can even join the regulars sampling duck tongue with basil, which (once you get past the texture) is an authentic treat. Be sure to stop at the ATM first: Taiwan Café is cash only. 34 Oxford St., Boston, MA taiwancafeboston.com/.
Don't let the Korn-T-shirt-clad crowd outside the adjoining music club scare you off; once you get inside the restaurant portion of Church, you're in for a mellow—and seriously enjoyable—dining experience. If tuna tartare is available, go for it; our favorite version is served with cucumber chunks and wonton chips. The grilled steak tips with truffle-Parm fries are also delicious. 69 Kilmarnock St., Boston, MA 2215, churchofboston.com.
Bring your reading glasses and a couple of hours to spare: The Persy's brunch menu lays out more than 100 possible orders, ranging from the expected (three eggs any style) to the bizarre (haddock poached in milk). You may need a few cups of joe just to power through the list of choices, but once you do, the payoff is sweet—especially if you decide to go for the yummy French toast made with fresh-baked bread, creamy crab Benedict, or above-par banana-walnut crepes. 52 Falmouth Road (Route 28), Mashpee, MA 2649, .
Chef Jeremy Sewall has a family connection to the best crustaceans around: His cousin Mark is a Maine lobsterman. And the best vehicle for his wares just may be Island Creek's lobster roll. Mixed with créme fraîche, dill pickles, and celery salt, the succulent meat is stuffed into a house-made rosemary-flecked roll and sent out to the table bursting at the seams. Take a moment to savor the stunning visual, because it'll be gone before you can say, "Pass the napkins, please." 500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2115, islandcreekoysterbar.com.