Best last year and still the one to watch. Sorely missed when the Boss opened his national tour in Worcester while she was out sick. Nice to have you back, Joyce.
Kids have so few good role models in the entertainment industry today. A Few Good Girls, a four-woman hip-hop dance group from Boston and Newton, is dedicated to dancing—and to promoting positive image.
Unmatched selection, salespeople who are available but not pushy, and a policy of matching any price in the country make this a musician's Disneyland. Find the classic ax of your dreams here, or just spend a pleasant afternoon sampling the goods in the store. 750 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .
When it comes to outfitting our home, we want it all—high style, gorgeous fabrics, American-made pieces—at a fair price, of course. That's why we always make this Boston-area furniture chain our first stop. Whether we're placing a custom order or browsing higher-end brand knockoffs, we get the same white-glove service, without breaking the bank. 142 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 2116, mitchellgoldboston.com.
A wise woman once said the only thing separating us from animals is our ability to accessorize. (Actually it was Olympia Dukakis in Steel Magnolias, but still, she was on to something.) What luck that Barneys has arrived to pacify our inner savages. The new two-story spot features bags, bangles, and beaded things from 220 designers, including totes by Goyard, shades by Oliver Peoples, pendants by Sonya Ooten, and cashmere scarves by Evelyne De Clercq. 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, barneys.com.
Our poor, overloved clogs—not much left of the heel but a few pieces of chewed-up yellow foam. Bracing for a lecture on proper shoe care, we nervously carried them into Odessa. To our delight, the kindly proprietor lifted them up lovingly and assured us they would be fine. And a week later he delivered a perfectly handmade new heel for each, plus fresh soles and heels for several equally battered pairs of boots. 3 Center Plz., Boston, MA 2108, .
No pain, no gain? We so understand that phrase. Our first day at BodyScapes was a bit of a shock: Our butts were kicked—hard—as one of manager Jerry Labbate's six smiling trainers guided us through a series of squats, lunges, lifts, and sprints so intense we ached for days. But then one morning, two months later, we suddenly awoke with abs. Real, defined abs. And biceps. And calves. And—did we mention?—abs! One Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, bodyscapesinc.com.
First things first: On an island, going out for a great dinner shouldn't mean you have to shackle yourself in a sport coat. That's why this contemporary but elegant Edgartown restaurant wins our praise and our devotion for its delicious interpretations of standard New England dishes—wok-fired lobster, with an outstanding taste and texture, for example. So settle into a seat in the low-key dining room or the surprisingly hip subterranean lounge and dive into the pan-seared Georges Bank scallops. 137 Main St., Edgartown, MA atriamv.com.
This cavernous space is stuffed to the rafters with paints, pencils, brushes, canvases, sketchpads—basically, all the tools needed to create a masterpiece, or just a big, pretty mess. Everything is arranged in supermarket-style aisles, the better to help aspiring Pollocks and Hoppers conserve mental energy for their work; classes led by the artsy employees teach the rest of us how to tell our alkyds from our acrylics. 401 Park Dr., Boston, MA dickblick.com.
When we want to mindlessly browse shadows and powders, we hit Sephora. When we need to self-medicate with new lip gloss, we stop by Beauty and Main. But when we get serious—as in, restock-our-entire-makeup-bag serious—we hightail it over to Neiman Marcus's Copley Place outpost. Its selection of top brands (Chantecaille, Dior, Nars) and less ubiquitous lines (Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, Jemma Kidd) makes it a grown woman's playground. What's more, the sales professionals are themselves impeccably made-up, so we feel completely comfortable putting our face in their hands. Copley Place, Natick Collection, Boston, Natick, MA 02116, 01760, neimanmarcus.com.
A confession: We're still working our way through Dok Bua's marathon menu. (This is partly because we're compelled to order the sublime mango curry and the miang cum appetizer—betel nut leaf filled with ginger and shallots—at least every other visit.) But any questions about whether an unassuming storefront in Brookline can whip up more than 100 authentic Thai dishes—employing everything from catfish to duck to a veritable garden of vegetables—with consistent aplomb are answered by the scraped-clean plates that we always spy on the tables of our fellow contented diners. 411 Harvard St., Brookline, MA dokbuathai.com.
The first retail outlet for the New Hampshire-based artisan who makes bonbons for New York's most chichi restaurants, this is an adult chocoholic's nirvana. Our first addiction was the Hot Chocolate, basically a full-size chocolate bar lovingly melted, then served in a birdbath-size white china cup and saucer. We progressed on to the handmade chocolates, which remind you that cocoa beans, not sugar, are the most important ingredient. These indulgences pack a long-lasting taste wallop; the Baton with cinnamon—a dark ganache of chopped hazelnut, cinnamon, and lavender—is our personal favorite. 52 Brattle St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA .
Don't let Michelle Lee's warm, chatty demeanor fool you. This woman is absolutely ruthless with a pair of shears—in the best way possible. She pulled no punches when telling us the problems with our current haircut (too heavy in the back, weirdly choppy in the front, not enough movement anywhere), and promptly got to work trimming and styling with aplomb. Thirty minutes later, it looked like half our mane was on the floor. The style left behind, however, was nothing short of impeccable. 118 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, salonevamichelle.com.
After clomping around the city for a few years, our Italian-leather boots were in dire need of a makeover. "Oy. You must really love these,' said this shop's proprietor as he noticed the wood and nails poking through the heels. He tenderly brought them back to life in just three days, and our boots were again ready to strut their stuff. Boston, MA
We're not kind to our feet. We shove them into toe-squishing shoes, pound them on rough pavement, and expose them to God knows what in the locker- room shower. Not to worry: Victoria Turovsky smoothes over all these small cruelties. She sculpts away unsightly calluses and banishes dead skin before shaping and shading our toenails into polished perfection. 118 Newbury St., Boston, MA .