This pretty, well-appointed South End apothecary caters to your beauty needs, but with a conscience. Owner Tara Foley selects only the healthiest and most environmentally friendly products, including locally made goods from Shamanuti, Farmaesthetics, and Amber Blue, to line her shelves (an in-store hand-and-body-soap bar for refills cuts down on plastic bottle waste, too). Foley’s even committed to your well-being on vacation: Her Nantucket outpost opened this past May. 53 Dartmouth St., Boston; and 9A S. Beach St., Nantucket, shopfollain.com.
The fittings! The price tags! The taffeta! Is this any way to treat your best friends? At Aria, you pick the color and fabric, then let each girl select her most flattering dress from among more than 30 distinctive yet complementary styles, all starting at less than $200 a pop. Ten bucks says that they'll show their appreciation when the time comes to buy your wedding present. 39 Newbury St., Boston, MA ariadress.com.
The lure of this Davis Square boutique begins even before you cross the threshold, with hypercolorful window displays full of irresistible outfits. No bait and switch here, as you'll discover even more choice threads inside. Seasonally appropriate selections, a wide range of styles, and bargain prices are sure to keep your shopping spirits light and your wallet heavy. (By the way, Poor Little Rich Girl isn't so little anymore: Last year it expanded to brighter and far less squished—but equally convenient—digs.) 255 Elm St., Somerville, MA shoppoorlittlerichgirl.com.
Sure, you could pick out a nice blender from the registry. But for a more original present, hit up Abodeon. The store's vintage and modern furniture and home accessories will outshine and outlast any kitchen appliance. Choose a set of '70s-era martini glasses for your bon vivant of an uncle, a bamboo magazine rack for your big sister, or go for broke with a Danish modern table you'll inevitably decide to keep for yourself. 1731 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, abodeon.com.
Your flambé skills may be supreme, but if your kitchen equipment isn't, "heat and stir" is about as gourmet as dinner's going to get. Fortunately, Yale stocks some of the finest appliances around—stainless-steel Sub-Zero fridges, stovetops, and Theramdor free ranges. And the service is superb: The store offers demonstrations and will deliver and remove appliances. 296 Freeport St., Dorchester, MA yaleappliance.com/.
E-mail, e-vites, e-cards—you've been there, e-done that. Lend your correspondence some off-line heft with a pilgrimage to this epistolary shrine, with its formidable collection of paper, cards, and craft supplies. Initially you may feel overwhelmed, so take advantage of the design-savvy staffers (many of them art school students), the nifty DIY invitation and letter-writing kits, and personal stationery consults—all of which can help give your every missive a signature style. 1361 Beacon St., Brookline, Boston, Cambridge, Wellesley, MA 2446, paper-source.com.
Erik Baier, owner of this quirky shop, is like every photographer's benevolent uncle. He'll answer your stupid questions, talk you through your photographic dilemmas, and impart his considerable wisdom, sending you off with just what you need. His stuff is new, used, or for rent, and if he hasn't got it, he'll get it. 840 Summer St., 3rd floor, Boston, MA .
Okay, so this massive warehouse chain has great prices on a huge selection. No surprise there. But it also offers surprisingly good service. You're greeted right after entering the store and guided to the aisle for, say, your iguana, and they'll even schlep the 40-pound bag of food to your cat. The doggie-biscuit salad bar is the canine equivalent of Bread & Circus. All locations, .
When you need paint, Johnson has it, from the usual house paint to aniline wood dyes to oil and watercolor. (There's an art-supply store upstairs— is that perhaps because more artists than we suspected pay the bills by painting houses?) When it runs a sale, you'll find yourself planning the recoloration of rooms you don't even have. 355 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
It is worth the hassle of moving simply for the pleasure of employing perennial winners Gentle Giant. The entire process unfolds like a dream: Book the move with a phone call and watch as the exceedingly polite, good-humored movers show up on time, load your belongings into the truck with astonishing grace and speed, and unload them—in their proper places—into your new home. Yes, they're more expensive than other movers, but they're worth it. 29 Harding Street, Somerville, MA gentlegiant.com/.
This is not your father's monkey suit. No longer need you dread that command: black tie. For a well-cut tux that will stand the test of time, Giorgio Armani has the ne plus ultra in evening attire. But if your pocketbook can't stand the stress, there's always Emporio Armani, where the tuxedos are a little funkier. Remember, there's safety in black—unless it's a very dark French navy. 22 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
You can shop off the rack, but that doesn't necessarily mean your clothes will fit off the rack. Jordan Tsavalakoglou can remedy that situation. Tsavalakoglou sizes you up in a glance, taking in proportions like a doctor assessing a patient during triage. Then he probes you with a barrage of meticulous questions about how you'd like the clothes to fit before getting to work cutting and sewing to precisely match your measurements. Added bonus: The prices are just as attractive as the tailoring would be. 133 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
No foot is too foul for Lisa, Gretchen, and Valerie, the pedicurists at Grettacole. In their expert hands, your calluses disappear and your toenails are topped with the latest fashionable hue. In additional to the classic pedicure, the salon also offers a rose-oil version, plus a "signature" treatment that uses paraffin wax for softening and exfoliating. Watch out for the new Grettacole opening at the Westin Copley Place this fall. The Atrium Mall, Chestnut Hill, MA grettacole.com.
This eco-friendly, health-obsessed nail salon does things a little bit differently—for starters, you won't find your favorite OPI and Essie shades on offer (too many chemicals). What you do get: highly trained technicians; a bright, supremely clean atmosphere; and a fine selection of carcinogen-free polishes that can be combined to create custom hues dutifully recorded for your next visit. 143 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA wetpaintnailspa.com.
Staying here is like weekending at your rich best friend's seaside retreat. Except your best friend isn't rich, and she certainly doesn't have a seaside getaway. But you both do have the Winnetu on South Beach, a collection of 53 quaint suites and a private cottage. Eleven acres of lawn and sandy beach out front include the requisite pool and tennis courts, as well as funky outdoor sculptures and a life-size chess set. 31 Dunes Rd., Edgartown, MA winnetu.com.