There are plenty of good shoeshines around town, but only A Shining Example will come to your office to shine your shoes ($3), repair neckties and shoes, and provide stress-reduction massage. One Beacon St., Boston, MA .
Sure, there's the bloody mary bar. But after a big night, the best plan may be to divert the pain from your temples to your tongue with the Hangover Cure from Hell: a plate of spicy sausage and roasted habaneros. 1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 2139, eastcoastgrill.net.
Anyone who's spent hours frantically searching for the perfect outfit for a class reunion knows how hard it can be to strike the balance between trendy and sophisticated. This precious Charles Street boutique does so with style, stocking a mix of cutting-edge clothing, from tailored work separates by Theory and Chaiken to casual twinsets and capri pants by Trina Turk and whimsical skirts by Rebecca Taylor. Of special note is the impressive selection of party dresses, all hand-selected from collections by the likes of Nanette Lapore and Shoshanna. Timid shoppers take note: Though the store is a treasure trove of garments you won't find elsewhere, the price tags and sometimes aloof sales staff can add up to an experience as intimidating as rush night in college. 49 Charles St., Boston, MA wishboston.wordpress.com/.
Remember when you used to sneer at bottle blondes? Stylist Leon deMagistris and his staff of colorists have changed all that with bold, rich hair colors that look better than the real thing. (His latest venture, known as California highlighting, mimics the look of sun-kissed hair without foil strips or hours of harmful sun exposure.) Moreover, deMagistris's talent and sway go far beyond the Boston-area beauty scene. He's the former U.S. creative director for the venerable Italian product line Tocco Magico and regularly grabs international attention with runway coiffures in Europe. None of which stops him from running his 33-year-old Belmont salon like a finely tuned machine. 84 Leonard St., Belmont, MA leonandco.com/.
Upgrading to a new neighborhood or swapping your city digs for a spot in the ’burbs? The efficient team at Seven—armed with protective stretch film, blankets, and pads—makes sure the least stressful part of your move is actually moving things. sevenmoving.com.
This adjunct to a full-time day-care center will take care of your healthy child when your regular arrangements fall through. It's bright, clean, fun and $50 a day. (Preregistration is required). 39 Brighton Avenue, Allston, MA .
The pastel delights from Party Favors may take you back to your first-grade birthday, but the moist cake and fluffy buttercream frosting will satisfy your more mature inner gourmet. 1356 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 2446, partyfavorsbrookline.com.
A world-renowned jazz drummer, Berklee professor, and Grammy-winning bandleader, Medford’s Terri Lyne Carrington (pictured, bottom) excels at anything she touches. Her latest triumph is this two-CD set spanning almost two hours of music. Featuring her band Social Science and aching vocals by singer Debo Ray, the first half is a musical stew of jazz, R & B, hip-hop, and funk, with a poetic rumination on police brutality by Malcolm Jamal-Warner on “Bells (Ring Loudly)” that took on even greater meaning after the killing of George Floyd. The second half, an instrumental jazz suite called “Dreams and Desperate Measures,” is a luminous river of improvised music. Put together, it’s one of the most astonishing albums ever released by a Boston musician. terrilynecarrington.com.
Vogue named him one of the "most sought after trainers in America": he has a client list peppered with Boston's beautiful people, and his state-of-the-art gym is more Philippe Starke than YMCA grunge. But don't let appearances deceive you: Berke's a task master who realizes people do not want to be sweating their buns off, doing the same old grunts seven days a week. Gym rats addicted to StairMasters, aerobics, and other such standard pursuits be warned: Berke will have you jumping rope, spinning, and taking part in high-intensity weight training. He will also create an individually tailored diet regime, which can include two glasses of red wine a night. $75/hour. Adam Berke Gym, 1260 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
You don't have to belong to the Sports Club/LA to experience the stress-relieving, muscle-soothing magic of a massage by Maggie Kesler at the health club's on-site Splash Spa. Of course, after an hour or so having each and every tense muscle manipulated into relaxation (Kesler's technique combines a therapeutic blend of traditional Swedish strokes with pressure-point work and shiatsu), and a few minutes in the oversized steam and sauna rooms, you might find yourself signing up for a membership—or at least another massage appointment. Kesler has a way of leaving clients' previously aching muscles rejuvenated, restored, and ready for action, whether that's a heart-taxing spinning class or simply the long drive home. 4 Avery St., Boston, MA .
The words "natural" and "hair color" rarely occur in the same sentence. That is, unless you're talking about the work of color artist Laurel Elliott, who is herself something of a natural wonder. Clients lucky enough to snag an hour with Elliott at Vidal Sassoon leave with hair that shines, shimmers, and is undeniably real. Brunettes grow richer with chocolate single processes, while blondes are brought back to that elusive sun-kissed color of their childhoods. Elliott's talents run much deeper than boosting the wattage of ordinary locks. She's also an expert at correcting the damage done by lesser colorists. What's more, this pint-sized prodigy, a J.Lo look-alike with the style to match, couldn't be sweeter or more understanding to the follicly distressed. Which makes us wonder what we ever did without her. 14 Newbury St., 4th floor, Boston, MA .
Just because you've bypassed the high-end bridal boutiques doesn't mean you don't want to be fussed over when making the biggest decision of your wedding (besides the groom, of course). Enter Vows Bridal Outlet. With an attentive staff offering as much help and advice as you want, this store manages to make its customers feel they're at a posh boutique—until they see the prices. Designer gowns by the likes of Vera Wang, Amsale, and Caroline Herrera (to name but a few) are drastically marked down. Zip one on, strike a pose on the mirror-surrounded pedestal, let a saleswoman place a matching veil in your hair, and try not to gloat over it with your friends who paid retail. 334 Watertown St., Newton, MA bridepower.com/.
Like a Verdian lothario, this town's upscale Italian has a knack for breaking hearts. Leave a place transported by its pillowy gnocchi, and you can bet your Bolognese it'll be dense as lead when you go back for more. Spending more while testing this category than for French and Steakhouse combined, we mourned the fall of every contender, with consistency issues (Bina), new-project distraction (Dante), service glitches (Sorellina), and failure to inspire (everyone else). Sorry for the lame valentine, Rialto, but we've got baggage. Just say your roast duck will remain tender and your stellar pastas will stay true, and we'll break this serial-monogamy habit once and for all. 1 Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 2138, rialto-restaurant.com.
Not since Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker's first date has understated elegance sat so close to attention-grabbing glamour. The frocks at Serenella—meticulously cut, pressed, and hung—are a whirlwind of sophisticated designs. Start with the impressive collection of European imports: whimsical Moschino ensembles, sexy Blumarine pieces by Italian designer Anna Molinari, and a sunny lineup of Roberto Cavalli gowns in saturated colors that will steal your heart (if not your paycheck). Your sensible side will be seduced by Narciso Rodriguez's latest lean looks. The compilation is so artistic, it even pulls in hard-core Pucci collectors, ardently looking for the Next Big Piece. As for the rest of us, we're just happy to wear the stuff, which we do whenever the evening calls for something special. 134 Newbury St., Boston, MA serenella-boston.com/.
The long, winding boardwalks and grassy dunes at Crane Beach can magically readjust the tired mind of even the most citified creature. After sinking your toes into the beach's soft white sand, you may decide to trade in your power suit for a bathing suit—permanently. Bird lovers, bring your binoculars—Crane is home to more than 200 aviary species, including wild turkeys. Getting there a problem? For those without wheels, take the commuter rail to downtown Ipswich, and then bike five miles to the beach. For those who drive: Stop to go antiquing in nearby Essex on the way. For kids of all ages: Don't miss Crane's annual sand-sculpture competition on August 12. Beach amenities: ample parking, refreshments, clean bathhouses, and outside showers. Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA .