Buying a light should be a hands-on experience, and at this interactive showroom it is. There's a dimmer, switch, or knob on nearly every wall, as well as every kind of fixture imaginable, from funky frosted-glass sconces to crystal-draped chandeliers. Contemporary sculpted-glass pendants hang from one alcove while chrome-plated bedside lamps spill from another. Browse through several catalogs or speak to an expert staff member who can help plan individual rooms or large-scale projects down to every detail. From classical to completely funky, this selection of pieces from around the world is unrivaled. 103 North Beacon St., Allston, MA wolfers.com/.
As the first recreational pot shop in Boston proper, and the first Black-owned one in the state, Pure Oasis carries the weight of history on its shoulders. From the moment it opened in early 2020 (unluckily, mere moments before COVID lockdowns set in), the store has been embraced by its community. Stocked with an impressive array of flower, tinctures, THC-infused chocolates, and even a line of locally made cannabis seltzers, it certainly has the goods. But a year later, shopping at Pure Oasis still feels like a celebration — of a ceasefire in the war on drugs that caused immeasurable harm in its backyard, and of all that’s yet to come as the industry flourishes. 430 Blue Hill Ave., Boston, MA 02121, mypureoasis.com.
Our nonnas could argue for hours about what defines the perfect pasta. One thing they would all agree on, though, is the distinctive precision and vision at work in Karen Akunowicz’s kitchen, from the just-so suppleness of her raviolo carbonara to the tortelli, cooked a tiny bit al dente in a buttery green bath of wild nettles, English peas, and garlic. On your way out, scoop up fresh-made styles sold by the bagged pound for your own cooking adventures — and get excited for the in-house pasta shop planned for Bar Volpe, Akunowicz’s upcoming second Southie restaurant. 28 W. Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127, foxandtheknife.com.
There are plenty of ’90s trends we’re glad to welcome back into our repertoires—chunky sandals, slip dresses, high-waisted everything—but one thing that can stay in the last century? Pencil-thin eyebrows. Thankfully, Lauren Genatossio is firmly on the same page, creating nothing but lush, full looks from her South Boston and Hingham studios. Bring your out-of-control brows to Genatossio and watch as she plucks and trims them into goddess-like arches, creating the exact shape needed to make your eyes and cheekbones pop. 840 Summer St. , Boston, MA 02127, sarraboston.com.
Imagine, if you will, an emerald-green lawn overlooking the ocean. Rows of white chairs face the water, flanking an aisle dusted with flower petals. It’s here that you’ll say, “I do,” reciting the vows you worked so hard on while waves ripple gently behind you. Afterward, you’ll reunite with loved ones in a soaring white tent, pitched atop a stone floor studded with sea glass. Can you see it? Now, head to Misselwood—a grand seaside estate in Beverly—to book the real thing. Complete with a French chateaux-style manse for smaller affairs, this formidable venue will far exceed your wildest dreams. 407 Hale St., Beverly, Massachusetts 01951, misselwood.com.
We aren't ones to cry over spilt milk, as our floors can attest; our couch has more hair on it than our cat. Without a speck of judgment, the Maids clean up our act month after month, dusting baseboards, degriming showers, and all but eliminating any traces of pet (except for, of course, the pet itself). They're quick, well priced, and unobtrusive: Aside from the preternatural sparkle and neatly triangled toilet paper, you'd never know they'd been there. maids.com.
The folks at Barmakian know it's the engagement ring—ever the showstopping diva—that gets all the oohs and aahs, which is why they specialize in wedding bands that complement, rather than compete. The store offers hundreds of men's, women's, and unisex rings in white gold, yellow gold, and platinum, accented by any gem or engraved pattern imaginable. It'll also design a match for that heirloom engagement ring from your fiance's grandmother, making you and your sweetheart just one of two perfect pairs that will have everyone buzzing on the Big Day. 333 Washington St., Boston, MA barmakian.com.
At Oleana, no one orders the warm chocolate cake or the crème brûlee. That's because, we're pleased to relay, there isn't any. Kilpatrick pays dessert the respect it deserves, melding rose petal, blood orange, and other exotic flavors into homemade ice creams and stunningly original sweets like her brown-butter bread pudding with milk jam and mulberries. She even gives the standards a twist: The big-enough-to-share baked Alaska comes with coconut ice cream and passion fruit-caramel sauce, a heavenly combo that establishes Kilpatrick as a classic in her own right. Oleana, 134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA oleanarestaurant.com.
Despite all your preparations (and no thanks to the open bar) no one will recall the details until the photos arrive. And while shots of Uncle Leo's Electric Slide are always entertaining, you don't really need them in your album. The more crucial pics are of the day's poignant, fleeting moments. Scott Levine gets those—he gets everything—with the uncanny sense of timing and sharply trained eye that come from 20 years on the circuit. He posts photos online for six months, letting you browse and reorder the best of the bunch. 21 Fieldstone Drive, Stoneham, MA thestudiosl.com.
While most specialty clothing boutiques are inviting enough, it's increasingly hard to find ones that risk stocking merchandise that is, in fact, special—that is to say, not all over Barneys, Neiman's, and Saks. In the mall but still in the vanguard, Betty Riaz's Stil satisfies fashion individualists with such off-the-grid labels as Copenhagen's Bruuns Bazaar and Munthe Plus Simonsen and mold-breaking looks from otherwise more-mainstream designers. Rounding out the mix are local talents like casual-cool Nirva and couture wunderkind Sam Mendoza (whose workshop in Stil's second outpost, at the Pru, is a draw unto itself). 199 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA 2467, stillinc.com.
Refreshingly chic silhouettes from Olian, Ripe, Paper Denim, and Inca Mama are enough to recommend Helena's. So are the racks of nonmaternity styles, which include tees by Johnny Was and trapeze tops by Tulle that can be repurposed by those with baby bumps (instantly dressing up, say, a pair of Gap Maternity stretch pants). What puts Helena's over the top, however, is its location, flanked by like-minded businesses Wild Child (see above) and Isis Maternity. In one fell swoop, moms-to-be can purchase a come-hither cocktail dress, sign up for a prenatal yoga class, and test-drive the stroller of the moment. 397 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 2474, .
The way it wriggles off a finger or pops out of its setting, you'd think jewelry had a mind of its own—one that knows how to roll juuuust out of reach under the refrigerator or, worse, straight down the garbage disposal. Capricious gems need a strong hand, which is where the dexterous staffers at Alex & Co. come in. They can restring, reset, or resize anything quickly and securely; if more-drastic measures are needed, owner Alexander Zamsky will pour his European design training into creating a brand-new piece guaranteed to fit, and look, a hundred times better. 100 Needham St. #1, Newton, MA 2464, alexandcompany.com.
Any old Store 24 or CVS has the household names—GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, a certain city mag you may have heard of—and yes, it surely is convenient to load up on required reading and toothpaste all in one go. Trident's draw is that, instead of toiletries and Slim Jims, it supplements its big titles with the coolest niche publications around. The racks are dense with the surprising and quirky (2600 and Heeb being a combined purchase, perhaps, for the techie hipster Jew in your life), and sampling the wares is encouraged: Just take a copy to the store's mellow café and peruse it over a cup of equally mellow joe. 338 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2115, tridentbookscafe.com.
Owner Paul Niski culls the world for art and oddments seldom seen here in Boston, and consequently Good's inventory of goods—which run the gamut from furniture to linens to pure objets d'art—is almost continuously refreshed. Among the constants in this tiny, museumlike space: John Derian's eccentric découpage pieces, handcrafted jewelry from the likes of Melissa Joy Manning and Chan Luu, and pristine Japanese lacquerware by Morihata. Above all, there's Niski's own exquisite taste, which, if you're unsure of your gift recipient's style—or even your own—is quite a reliable one to adopt. 133 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, shopatgood.com.
Scientists theorize that cute babies have had an evolutional leg up, as our Stone Age ancestors were less likely to abandon them. Modern-day parents are obviously far more civilized—but all the same, one could argue that Olivia Rose owner Gloria Peotrowski does give her tiny customers an edge. Her racks of darling yet functional clothing and accessories—including tees from California brand Le Top, colorful leggings by Mulberribush, and jumpers by Sweet Potatoes (tagged with product names like 'You're My Pumpkin Pie')—make their wearers so adorable, they'll be able to get away with anything. 1945 Ocean St., Marshfield, MA 2050, oliviarosechildrensboutique.com.