There are three secrets to truly great straightening: patience, persistence, and—the deciding factor for many—convenience. What good is a perfect styling when you have to waste precious hours schlepping around town for it? Jennifer Racioppi—seasoned hair goddess who cut her teeth at the beloved but erstwhile Solus—wields her giant round brush to render hair flawless every time and regularly makes house (and office) calls to do it. It's like having your very own expert stylist. 115 Newbury St., Suite 302, Boston, MA salonluiz.com/.
The Maids didn't so much clean our apartment as unleash a hellfire of spic-and-span. Wearing vacuums on their backs and armed with motorized bottles (seriously), the housecleaners left no corner, crack, or crevice undusted, unscrubbed, or unwashed. They even tackled that war zone underneath the couch cushions. 179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, maids.com.
Let's face it: Your baseboards and windowsills haven't seen the swish of a sponge or the feather of a duster in forever. It's high time you called for backup in the form of the friendly, family-owned Crystal Clean. A team of three or more expert cleaners will arrive in a flurry of brooms and mops, leaving nothing behind but a fresh lemon scent and a sparkling home.
Should cost $4 a glass—but doesn't.
Bartender Peter Marshall's private recipe makes use of jalapeno pepper juice, grenadine, chili powder and other spices, fruit juices, and, of course, wine. A potent complement to the Mexican food. 30 Gloucester St., Boston, MA .
Parting with a furry friend pre-vacation is such sweet sorrow. But book your pup a stay at this 7,000-plus-square-foot boarding-and-daycare facility, and you can rest assured that he’ll sleep tight after romping for hours in one of four supervised, climate-controlled rooms where dogs, from teacup Chihuahuas to mastiffs, are grouped by play style and size. Walks and Blue Buffalo food are available at no extra charge, and Web cams allow globe-trotting owners to keep tabs on their pets throughout the day. 139 Endicott St., Danvers, MA 1923, nsdog.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.
Amid a flurry of cleaning services catering to on-the-go urbanites, the Jamaica Plain outpost of this national operation shows an unbeatable blend of polish and professionalism. After setting the appointment and sending an e-mail confirmation, your cleaning team will arrive armed with grime-busting equipment and a dozen sprays, as well as a rigorous 22-step plan for restoring your home's sparkle. The Maids will even pick up and drop off your keys at work—another excellent reason to fork over the $159 fee, which is lowered if you book monthly follow-ups. 179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, .
You know what they say about cleanliness and godliness. Which must be why visits from Crystal Clean always leave your home so divine. A four-person team buffs and shines down to the hard-to-reach spots and tops it all off with finishing touches—dusted reading glasses, triangle-folded toilet paper—that other services often skip. Boston, MA 2116, crystalcleanboston.com.
Few things are more intimate than hiring someone to clean your home. Tremendous Maid, thankfully, is all business: Fill out an Internet request form with your square footage and home layout, and you'll quickly hear back about scheduling options. The actual cleaning was both impressive and a bit guilt-inducing, as the team scrubbed items we willfully ignore: baseboards, toaster oven, mini blinds. By the time they were done, our house was as pristine as the day it was built. 270 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA tremendousmaid.com.
1982 Sauvage Sauvignon. 85 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA .
You didn't have to be black or Jewish to admire either August Wilson's stirring Joe Turner's Come and Gone at the Huntington or Herb Gardner's heartwarming I'm Not Rappaport at the Colonial.
Dick Umile (273-1279) and Ralph Deldon (272-2767) are schoolteachers who moonlight. They've been painting homes for five years, and as far as we can tell, they can do no wrong. They stick to interiors and smaller houses and prefer to work in the summer or on weekends. "We first started doing it for other teachers, and the word spread," Umile says. "We're probably more dependable than a bunch of college kids, as we've been around longer." 617-273-1279 (Umile), 272-2767 (Deldon).
Clean home, meet clean conscience. When you summon the grime busters of Somerville-based EcoClean, they come bearing only the greenest equipment and supplies: environmentally friendly microfiber cloths, nontoxic cleansers, and HEPA-filter vacuums. And that, along with an endless reserve of elbow grease, is all they need to quickly transform your unkempt abode into a model of good housekeeping. ecocleanboston.com.