Short but not scary, his flattering haircuts make you feel like Winona Ryder or Isabella Rossellini (depending on your age and role model). Billy excels at developing long-term growth strategies for hair that looks like an outtake from the disaster movie of your life. He's also the manager of this youthful-but-not-too-trendy salon, set in a Commonwealth Avenue townhouse. John Dellaria Salon, 623 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .
It's unusual to find a hairdresser who can cut curly hair without reducing one's twisty, tangling locks to a frizzy puffball. James can handle both of these challenges. Even more unusual, before he turned to his current career, he worked as an auto mechanic and a construction worker. And he rides a Harley. So you can get your hair cut and discuss your carburetor all at once. Alexanders, 163 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Heels break. Toes scuff. Salt stains. Stop pouting—head instead to Jazz Shoe Repair, where owner Yuriy Arutyunov will fix and shine your shoes in his cozy garage-like shop while you wait. His capable hands have been bringing battered boots, heels, and loafers back to life for more than 40 years. He'll repair your pair with a smile—and at a very affordable price. 686 Washington St., Brookline, MA jazzshoerepair.com/.
Dog Day Afternoons bills itself as the city's first prep school for pooches, which sounds a bit ridiculous—unless, of course, you happen to be someone with a predilection for seriously pampering your pet. In that case, Dog Day's sprawling indoor play space, private dog run, optional limo service, unique amenities (an aquatherapy pool is in the works), arts and crafts lessons (yes, really), and rigorous admissions process sounds like exactly what your dog deserves. 1011 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA .
Your quest for the Holy Grail of chocolate can end right here. Topnotch and velvety white, dark, and milk chocolates are flown in from Switzerland every week to literally and happily melt in your mouth. The shop's crème de la crème? White chocolate-covered apricot and orange slices, cocoa-filled truffles, and the signature champagne truffles (at a hefty $27 for a box of 16). Admittedly, the staff can be icy, but, then, so can Switzerland. No matter. The exemplary chocolate stash will leave you without a hint of bitterness. 230 Newbury St., Boston, MA teuscher.com/.
Chalk it up to the anticipation of an unforgettable meal, the warm reception proffered at the host stand, or maybe just the impact of that briskly shaken craft cocktail in your hand. Whatever the reason, there's something so magical about No. 9 that your date suddenly seems to have gotten infinitely more attractive. And just wait till you try what Barbara Lynch's kitchen has created that day, be it sturgeon with pork belly en papillote, or a chocolate cream tart with saffron and grapefruit—two spoons, of course. 9 Park St., Boston, MA 2108, no9park.com.
Among Boston's power-breakfast set, Ken Oringer's otherwise high-profile restaurant (and the chef's own 'baby') has mostly remained a close-kept secret. Exquisitely mannered servers glide through the elegant dining room, quick with the coffee and sparing with the interruptions. The only risk is that the caviar scrambled eggs, banana galettes, and fresh-baked zucchini bread might have you paying more attention to your plate than to your breakfast companion. 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, cliorestaurant.com.
Why shop at a chain store? At Lavender, linens, candles, and other tabletop wares are culled from independent European vendors. And while a French country vibe pervades the shop, it's not all rustic; sleek and modern looks abound as well. If you can't outfit your abode with accents from your own adventures, this exotic home store is the next best thing. 173 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
If you're checking into the Ritz, you're probably used to kid gloves anyway. But here's a guy who not only watches your car, gets your luggage taken care of, and ushers you into the lobby—he just makes you smile. He's friendly and jovial in an era when good service has somehow gotten a bad rap. Ritz-Carlon Hotel, 15 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
Beauty may be only skin deep, but the relaxing effect of a day at Grettacole goes so much deeper. A true spa-goer's spa, Grettacole is staffed by an army of masseuses, aestheticians, and nail technicians—every last one a perfectionist—who can fix a nail as perfectly as they can clean your pores or buff your skin to a high shine. The spa offers not only top-of-the-line services, but also excellent salon and spa products from Kérastase, Bumble & bumble, and Trish McEvoy. 95 Central St., Wellesley, MA grettacole.com/.
Even if you have only 30 minutes to spend at Pyara, you'll reap the relaxing benefits: Nosh on dark chocolate and sip a calming tea while your therapist prepares a combination of oils and lotions with fragrances suited to your needs for a quickie Elemental Nature massage. The spa partners with Aveda, but also offers a variety of different hair, beauty, and skin-care products. 101 Middlesex Tpke., Burlington, MA pyaraaveda.com.
Does anyone care about workmanship anymore? The congenial Russian husband and wife who own Euro Design do, and it shows in the intricate, graceful jewelry they create. They preside over a cadre of cases gleaming with ethereal diamond bracelets and ruby necklaces so delicate they seem to float on the neck. Much of the jewelry—designed and crafted on the premises—is custom-made for clients, so if that one perfect, lustrous pearl brooch wrapped in sapphire streams is still looming in your imagination, your search ends here. 1298F Worcester Rd., Natick, MA eurodesignjewelry.net/.
"Cluttered" may not be your adjective of choice when it comes to home décor, but a trip to Elegant Entrances might be enough to make wrought-iron candelabra and Mission lamps on iridescent spring-green tablecloths staples of your permanent decorating style. Crowded with items as varied as Victorian basins and wall-mounted cowbells, this Norwell shop has the feel of a Harvard Square boutique, but without the prices. So leave the Platinum AmEx at home—and bring a car with a big trunk. 430 Washington St., Norwell, MA .
Though Natale’s focus is on suiting (with more than 2,000 suits and 1,000 sport jackets available), this one-stop shop also offers golf shirts for hitting the fairway, cuff links for hitting the boardroom, and everything else you need to smartly (and stylishly) dress for all your days. And because Natale’s provides free alterations for the lifetime of its fine suits, pants, and sport jackets, your wardrobe can grow with you. 171 Washington St., Norwell, MA 2061, natalesclothing.com.
Don’t know the first thing about carats and clarity? Head to Royal Jewelers, where experienced staffers (the shop’s been in the same family since 1948) are ready to hold your hand through every step of the ring-selection process. For a sparkler as unique as your soon-to-be bride, ask about the store’s customizable Royal Crown Collection. 58 Main St., Andover, MA 1810, royaljewelers.com.