Quality ingredients, a full line of equipment, and expert (if sometimes grumpy) advice have made BM&V the preferred training ground for hordes of thirsty home-brewers. A tiny commercial brewery and a winery specializing in mead will open sometime next year. 26 Elliot St., Newton, MA .
One session with owner Lauren Rampello, and you’ll never hop into an automated spray-tan booth again. Her paraben-, formaldehyde-, and retinol-free formula is meticulously applied by hand, leaving no room for streaks or missed spots. Stop into the recently opened studio for a custom color consultation, or let Rampello bring her pop-up tanning station to your home. Either way, 20 minutes is all you’ll need for a subtle glow that lasts for the better part of a week. 176 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, pureglowtanning.com.
Owner Angela Atenco Lopez’s rich, complex mole poblano is one of the dishes you must try before you can claim your Boston food-geek merit badge. On second thought, actually, perhaps we meant Lopez’s citrusy, onion-studded guacamole. Or maybe the plate of chilaquiles, with its crisp tortilla chips, fresh tomatillo sauce, and toppings of crema and queso fresco. Erase any doubts by doing what we do: order them all. 131 Lexington St., East Boston, MA 2128, angelascafeboston.com.
With the exception of a few tolerable chains like LF and the Rugged Bear, this tony town remains largely true to the efforts of owners with local ties: Jill Goldberg's home shop Hudson, Gretchen Monahan's temple-to-chic Gretta Luxe, Georgie Hotchkiss's crafts showcase the Gifted Hand. Everything from books to $2,000 Italian handbags can be bought from a familiar face (and when dining apré-spree, we especially like the one in the kitchen at nearby Blue Ginger). MA
This is not your average athletic-shoe store. The staff will study your strut to determine whether your feet pronate or roll outward, and whether you need a wide shoe or a skinny one. Then they'll hold your hand and guide you through a sea of brands, sizes, and models until you find the perfect fit. Athletes swear their knees, heels, and other weak points improve after a proper fitting at Marathon. 255 Washington St., Wellesley, MA .
There's something disconcerting about trying on swimsuits in badly lighted dressing rooms that seem to highlight every wrinkled lump on your legs. Canyon Beachwear feels your pain: It offers mix-and-match tops and bottoms for whose who fit into a 12 on the bottom but a 6 on the top. The store carries one-piece suits, bikinis, tankinis, and wraps from Domani, Calvin Klein, Anne Cole, Manuel Conovas, Jag, Esprit, and Mossimo, among others. 229 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Smaller boutiques deserve snaps for cleverness and class, but no one touches Neiman's when it comes to sheer selection. Sole searchers here can browse through zebra-print Manolos, steel-heeled Kors slingbacks, Marc Jacobs espadrilles, and bejeweled Christian Lacroix sandals. And with plenty of stock and attentive service, it's that much easier to walk out with your best foot forward. Copley Place, Boston, MA neimanmarcus.com/.
If couture décor is fashion for the home, then Montage is the Gucci of interior shops. Store owners Chris and Liz Bates have assembled an enviable collection of Italian "sleek-chic," meaning everything from B&B Italia to Cassina. Classic Barcelona chairs nestle up to the new Mister sofa designed by Philippe Starck, forming one of the most impressive conglomerations of high-end lines this side of Milan. 75 Arlington St., Boston, MA montageweb.com.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, do yourself a favor and let brow virtuoso Julie Michaud hold the tweezers. Her sense of shape and color are perfect on every brow, and her insistence on a clean line is nothing short of exacting. Don't come looking for a harsh, surprised expression; Michaud's watchwords are flattering, subtle, and pretty. With such attention to detail, the petite and affable artist doesn't just do natural: She is one. 297 Newbury St., Boston, MA prettyology.com/.
There are plenty of beauty rituals that can survive a rushed appointment. Eyebrow shaping is not one of them. Sadie Higgins spends a full 45 minutes studying the shape of your face while tweezing (no wax) a natural arch precisely where it was meant to be—even if nature had other ideas. She also dispenses at-home maintenance tips, all in a gorgeous loft space. 840 Summer St., Boston, MA sarrastudios.com.
In the past year, Somerville has exploded as a culinary destination. And while the Union Square food scene may change as a result, there's one constant: our beloved Indo,with its relaxed service, bacon deviled eggs perched atop cucumber slices, and stacked beer list featuring favorites from both home (High & Mighty's Beer of the Gods) and away (Six Point Brewery's Sweet Action). 75 Union Square, Somerville, MA 2143, theindo.com.
Maybe it's the two dozen varieties of oysters talking, but we've fallen hard for B&G. Barbara Lynch's imaginative takes on the standards—a lobster roll lined with bacon, Portuguese clam stew accented with pork belly—pair seamlessly with an ever changing menu of flounced-up yellowfin, sole, perch, and halibut. Wash it all down with one of 40 wines on offer and you, too, will feel a wave of affection coming on. 550 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2116, bandgoysters.com.
The kitchen, they say, is the heart of the home, which may explain why an outdated one can be such a source of agitation for image-conscious homeowners. Yale Appliance + Lighting can ease the pain. Its Dorchester headquarters packs in Thermador refrigerators, Viking stovetops, Sub-Zero wine coolers, and Bosch dishwashers. The store will deliver your purchase and remove your old gear for free, and also offers cooking and appliance seminars run by its resident chef, Kurt von Kahle. 296 Freeport St., Dorchester, MA 2122, yaleappliance.com.
Wine Sense is small, but that's a good thing, because you can feel confident that owner Samanta Ettore has vetted every single bottle on display. Don't want any part in the picking? Grab one of the tailored-to-the-season wine six-packs she puts together each month. Ettore also holds public tastings from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and arranges private tastings upon request. 166 N. Main St., Andover, MA wine-sense.net.
Set in bucolic West Stockbridge, the Williamsville Inn boasts everything a home away from home should: superb service, snowy linens, and cut flowers. Husband-and-wife team Erhard and Kandy Wendt have transformed this once dilapidated 18th-century inn into a modern country guesthouse complete with blond hardwood floors and quaint touches. Erhard also acts as the inn's chief chef, and his German-inspired fare is some of the finest in the county. 286 Great Barrington Rd. (Rte. 41), West Stockbridge, MA williamsvilleinn.com/.