Label queens and catwalk droolers are well sated at this mini specialty department store. The store stocks small, cutting-edge designers from France, Italy, London, and New York, as well as major labels like Prada and Dolce & Gabana, and the usual hot tickets like Marc Jacobs and Voyage. The store also carries its own line of clothing. For one-stop shopping, check out the shoes and the recently revamped makeup counter. The Mall at Chesnut Hill, 199 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA .
So a pearl may be nothing more than a grain of sand that managed to irritate an oyster. The finished product is way more likely to soothe than aggravate. Shreve, Crump & Low has one of the largest selections of Mikimoto pearls in New England, including the South Sea collection of creamy white and black pearls studded with diamonds and precious gems. 330 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
One test of a truly great vintage clothing store is its selection of well-worn Levis. Second Time Around has the city's best collection of gently worn denim, as well as a respectable showing in designer business wear. If you're willing to drop a few dollars in the name of fashion, pick up a casually elegant black leather jacket, worn to perfection. 167 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
This family-owned business has been selling period-furniture fixings to Bostonians for more than 75 years. One of the last of its kind, the store is worth visiting just to witness the brilliance of the wall-to-wall brass. But the merchandise doesn't stop at the drawer handles and sink fixtures. The store sells everything from door knockers and gas-style lamps to unusual copper weathervanes and rare nickel andirons. 123 Charles Street, Boston, MA .
No pain, no gain. At Michaud Cosmedix, the latter far outweighs the former as owner Julie Michaud and her aestheticians spend 30 minutes plucking your eyebrows one hair at a time. The result? Enviable arches that stay in shape much longer than they do after a 30-second wax. Here's something actually worth tearing up for. 69 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
De Rosa delivers up Beacon Hill stairs, mixes his aged wood well, and turns green at the idea of selling new wood. Though his beat is Boston, De Rosa lives in Billerica (1-633-2197). Rosanno, on Route 3A in Cohasset, fills car trunks with extraordinarily generous loads, dispenses folk wisdom, makes minor car repairs gratis, and has even been known to slip a quarter to a kid with one had while taking a five from the parents with the other. Boston, Cohasset, MA
One of the best things about Boston is its walkability. The downside, however, is our oft-abused footwear. So when the insoles of our beloved boots begin to wear and the heel caps of our oxfords start to disintegrate, we lug them to this small shop in the Park Square building, where they're consistently refurbished to good as new—just in time to hit the pavement again. 31 St. James Ave., Boston, MA .
Jeanne Lee doesn't shy away from problem toes—no, she specializes in them, taking the time to rigorously cleanse, file, buff, exfoliate, and massage before unscrewing the cap to your desired polish. And because Lee works with only one other nail technician (her mother) in her fourth-floor Newbury Street space, you're all but guaranteed a tranquil experience. 125 Newbury St., Boston, MA jeannesalon.com.
The Sports Club/LA isn't a gym—it's an experience. One that features 50 personal trainers, an Olympic-size swimming pool, four squash courts, an indoor basketball court, and 16,000 square feet of weight and cardio equipment. Fitness classes range from the classic (kickboxing, step aerobics) to the modern (BalleCore, Gyrokinesis); clients range from visiting rock stars to lithe locals. Included in the steep monthly memberships ($165-$265) are a nutritionist appointment and discounts at the on-premises Blu restaurant and Splash spa. 4 Avery St., Boston, MA 2111, thesportsclubla.com.
Every girl may like flowers, but a guy won't score any points with droopy Stop & Shop carnations. A truly thoughtful gesture calls for one of Twig's custom bouquets or topiary trees. Overflowing buckets of fresh local hydrangeas and asters line the sidewalk outside Lou Whitney's small South End store; inside, potted ferns complement delicate orchids, snapdragons, and calla lilies. Send some 'just because' and keep your romance in full bloom. 558 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2114, twigboston.com.
The Hot Locks staff knows hair—the salon's been at the mane game for nearly 20 years. Well-trained by co-owner Sonny Rapozo, the seven stylists deliver flattering cuts, natural color, and enticing extras like scalp massages and deep conditioning treatments (and after a week at the beach, who doesn't need one of those?). Go in for the works or a basic blowout that will leave your locks looking, well, hot. 580-B North Falmouth Highway (Rte. 28A), North Falmouth, MA 2556, hotlockssalon.com.
Polly Lewis and Maribeth Brostowski are carefully guarded secrets among Boston's glitterati. The designers have incredible taste and restraint, and we adore their pluck. Just one example of their fine work: They recently outfitted a Beacon Hill townhouse's library with wainscoting, deep crown moldings, and predictable muted grays, but made it extraordinary by painting the walls a superslick (and completely awe-inspiring) candy-apple red. 31 Gloucester St., Boston, MA 2116, lewisinteriorsboston.com.
The foot treatments here are as good for your head as they are for your toes. Grab a magazine and settle into one of two elevated pedicure stations. Then your snacks and tea arrive. And then you notice the flat-screen TV in front of you, and the remote at your side. As your nail tech buffs, soaks, and scrubs, you feel like a kid on a fake sick day. And that makes for very happy feet. 100 Stuart St., Boston, MA 2116, blissworld.com.
Granted, a tapas joint run by a couple of Irishmen in Brighton might not seem like the most authentic Spanish restaurant in town. But one bite of Chef Brendan Gallagher's creations will transport you straight to Andalusia. Great towers of food like the tortillitas de cangrejos y fabes (black bean crabcakes with fresh tomato and cilantro salsa) and timbale de verduras (roasted eggplant, zucchini, and red pepper topped with garbanzo pesto) will convert even the staunchest skeptic. Great atmosphere, great crowd. 1612 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA tascarestaurant.com.
This place is constantly mobbed with lively diners—a sure indication of its status as neighborhood staple. With reasonable prices, speedy service, and generous portions, the sushi bar does particularly well with the area's college crowd. After gorging on maki, order one or two of the mochi ice cream patties; the light (and lightly priced) sweets are a fine way to end your meal. 45 Gainsborough St., Boston, MA 2115, symphonysushi.com.