Nina Ganci will not judge you for being a lazy blonde, even if your year-old highlights are brassy and now fall somewhere in line with your eyebrows. Instead, she'll craft a color that matches your complexion, mixing high- and lowlights that seem deeply embedded in your genetic code, and she'll do it in a way that factors in your low-maintenance lifestyle: a brushed-on balayage treatment requiring precious little upkeep. 25 Temple Place, Boston, MA trephin.com.
When your fast-track life has you ragged at the edges, check into Giuliano's for some serious self-indulgence. They'll paint your toes, trim your locks, lather your face with soothing muds, and massage your weary back with fragrant oils (by candlelight!). You'll emerge ready to do battle again—or, better yet, go out on the town. 338 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Surrender your soles to Kathy for a luxurious and relaxing pampering. One of her secrets: she wraps your toes in saran before you slip on your shoes so as not to disturb the polish—your pedicure will last for weeks. 115 Newbury St., Suite 301, Boston, MA .
When you slurp an oyster from this hip dockside restaurant overlooking the harbor, it’s likely that the fresh, sweet bivalve was in that very same water just hours before. But it’s not just the oysters, of course, that earn Cru its title. The buttery fried clams, famous lobster roll, and jumbo cocktail shrimp all deserve recog- nition, especially when accompanied by a cool and refreshing “Crucumber” martini. One Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA 02554, crunantucket.com.
The perpetually overwhelmed will find relief in the care of the errand-vanquishing team at Fini. Need your car detailed, your trip to Reykjavik arranged, and the cable guy dealt with, but have more pressing things eating up your day? Hoping to deck out your stoop with the neighborhood’s spookiest Halloween decorations but don’t have the time (or the eye for artificial cobwebs)? The pros at Fini, who’ve been doing this for 15 years now, have your back. 665 Beacon St., Boston, MA finiconcierge.com.
Bella sante strikes the right combination of peaceful spa (fruit-infused water, plush furnishings) and briskly run business (in and done in half an hour). Technicians prune and preen nails into such pristine condition it's almost a shame to cover them with polish — but those who do will walk out with lacquered tops strong enough to endure several days worth of wear and tear. 38 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, bellasante.com.
Too many makeup artists labor under the tragic misconception that "bridal" means caked-on foundation, tarlike mascara, and Dynasty-esque cheek contouring. Not Wagener, who studies the bride-to-be's everyday look, then simply ratchets it up for the nuptials. After a session in her cozy workspace—well worth her $125 hourly fee—we walked away feeling glamorous as hell, but looking like ourselves. 130 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 2116, shuuemura-usa.com.
What's as rich as Toro's cheese plate, has as much flavor as its olive oil-roasted Brussels sprouts, and is as undeniably saucy as its patatas bravas? The neighborhood designers and artists, in-the-know real estate movers and shakers, and local restaurateurs who—without fail, seven nights a week—flock to chef-owner Ken Oringer's no-reservations hot spot from happy hour till closing time. Rubbing elbows with such characters over cava at the raucous bar makes waiting for a table seem like a perk, not a burden. 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA .
At Sel de la Terre, eating after 10 p.m. doesn't equal tired hamburgers and stale coffee. The late-night sustenance it offers comes with a gourmet touch: Chicken fingers are served with honey-mustard aioli, Vermont cheddar is melted over brioche, and juicy steak tips are marinated in a red wine reduction. The bar's soft lighting and leather banquettes make it tempting to stay until the wee hours (or at least until closing time at 12:30 a.m.). 255 State St., Boston, MA seldelaterre.com.
Okay, it's not in the theater district, but it's hopping till the wee hours. With a jovial ambiance and serious Alsatian cuisine, this is the place to head for a bite when most other kitchens are cleaning their pots. Drop in until 1 a.m. and take the edge off with a bowl of sturdy onion soup or a plate of choucroute. Check out the selection of great beers and good wines if you want to stretch out the night, or order a cappuccino or an espresso to sharpen up for the road. Colonadde Hotel, 120 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .
When we want to pray to the god of late-night dining ("Please let it be open!"), this is the temple where we come to worship. It offers sandwiches, pizza, and sophisticated small plates—wasabi-laden tuna tartare, spicy crab cakes—to satisfy all types of cravings until 12:30 a.m. And don't forget the cocktails: A frothy espresso martini is guaranteed rocket fuel to propel you further into the wee hours of the morning. 1688 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA templebarcambridge.com/.
It must be nice to be a pearl: just hang around inside an oyster for a while, getting shellacked until round and shiny. We feel similarly after a couple of hours at Neptune Oyster, quaffing glasses of chilled rose while surrounded by ridiculously fresh bivalves (plus a selection of just-off-the-boat crab claws and expertly dressed crudo). There's a reason this place is known as a gem. 63 Salem St., Boston, MA neptuneoyster.com.
Happy-hour drinks, dinner dates, late-night cocktail sessions—all are equally good reasons to come to Les Zygomates, a perfect combination of wine bar, bistro, and jazz club. Its ambiance is wonderfully French, though (thank God) there are no overt Paris references or antiques from the City of Light. Even better, the quaffs are affordable and the food superb. There may be a finer frisée aux lardons salad elsewhere in town, but we have yet to find it. 129 South St., Boston, MA 2111, winebar.com.
Nantucket is filled with righteous beaches, but there's something extra-special about Cisco and its shifting moods. On calm afternoons, surfers ride rolling waves for hours, then nap in soft, white sand. On windy mornings, thrill-seekers get adrenaline rushes by battling serious South Shore breakers. And on sunny island days, locals lunch and soak in some rays while being watched over by lifeguards, but not trampled on by tourists. Off Hummock Pond Road, Nantucket, MA 2554, .
By the time the meaty ribs and chicken served up here come off the smoker, they've been slow-cooked for as much as 14 hours over apple, hickory, and cherry woods. Add the tangy homemade sauces, and you can see why Tennessee's is running out of room on the wall of its strip-mall locale for the list of barbecue cookoffs it's already won. Well, here's one more. 341 Cochituate Rd., Framingham, MA tennesseesbbq.com/.