It’s what’s on the inside and the outside that counts—if not in life, then at least when it comes to wedding cakes. Ellen Bartlett’s confections get high marks in both design and taste: Dainty sugar flowers, metallic ombré fondant, and intricate lace and damask details give way to moist, fluffy layers in flavors such as strawberry–orange blossom and caramel tiramisu. Want to have your cake and make sure all of your guests can eat it, too? The bakery also prepares gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipes. 248 Cypress St., Brookline, MA cakestoremember.biz.
Who better to capture your wedding day than a couple of lovebirds themselves? The husband-and-wife team behind Veiled in Motion, Mark and Valery DerHovanessian, incorporate candid glimpses, toast highlights, and breathtaking drone footage to create a film that transports you back to the precious sights and sounds of your big day. Whether you choose New England nuptials or, when it’s safe to travel again, a destination elopement, the Boston-based pros will have you reliving those first married moments with the press of “play.” veiledinmotion.com.
Snooping for a new snowboard? Keep your wallet holstered until you hit the Blades Cambridge location and find out which stick is right for you. Not only does this Blades have one of the biggest selections in town, but its staff also boasts encyclopedic knowledge of nearly every shape, size, and model, and can order virtually any kind of board regardless of whether it's regularly stocked. After assessing your weight, ability, and style, they'll save you from riding the freshies on, say, a K2 Luna when you should really be shredding with a Burton Feelgood. 38 JFK St., Cambridge, MA .
You've got years to share the benefit of your lessons learned with the next generation (video-game mastery is not a marketable skill; Elvis Costello is always better with the Attractions). For now, let your kids figure things out by doing what they do best: namely, play. Stellabella is stacked to the rafters with toys to nurture any emerging interest, e.g., Rokenbok construction sets for wannabe hardhats, Alex collage kits and sparkly PlayFoam for crafts lovers, Andean flutes for folk musicians in the making. The Inman Square flagship also offers play groups, so tots can connect not just with their interests, but with each other, too. 1360 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 2139, stellabellatoys.com.
Value, value, value. These are the watchwords of ATA owner Husam Sahin, who picks his bikes based not on brand name, but on the bang for your buck. As a result, you'll find row upon row of Raleigh, Kona, and Giant mountain bikes, and fancy Italian racing bikes at surprisingly low prices. Sahin and his staff will talk you through the arcana of V-brakes, suspension, and frame strength, and take the crucial extra time to adjust your new bike to fit you perfectly. Throw in six months of free repair and service, and you'll be pedaling to a photo finish in no time. 1773 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA atabike.com/.
A good eyebrow artist can change your face, but a great one can change your world. Part therapist, part girlfriend, and all parts godsend, Julie Michaud is Boston's arch angel. Her minimum-pain tweezing sessions—peppered with good gossip, health factoids, and beauty tips—result in perfect but natural brows fit to flatter every face. And while Michaud's talent has turned her scheduling book into a fortress (be smart and book months in advance), it's also turned the business into a dynasty; if Julie's booked, don't hesitate to make a reservation with any of her equally adept colleagues. 297 Newbury St., Suite 21, Boston, MA .
Schumacher has been the grad Poo-Bah of flora for the past 31 years, and is largely responsible for bringing a healthy dose of green to Boston's asphalt avenues. Its creative ingenuity can be appreciated throughout the city at the Fraser Courtyard in the Museum of Fine Arts, the Snell Library Plaza at Northeastern University, and Post Office Square Par. But don't be intimidated if your yard is more like a foot. These doctors of the green thumb are equally adept at smaller residential projects— say, planting pansies around the porch, installing sod over that crabgrass, or mowing your lawn when you just don't feel like it. 17 Electric Ave., Brighton, MA .
Don't mess around with movers that fail to show up on time or try to hold your belongings hostage until you fork over a wad of cash vastly in excess of the original estimate. Gentle Giant will give you an honest quote, turn up exactly as promised, and call you at work just before coming.Plus, the crew is gentle, like the name says. Another bonus: You can have an intelligent conversation with your movers, who all seem to be hard at work on the Great American Novel. All in all, Gentle Giant belongs in the Haul of Fame. 29 Harding St., Somerville, MA .
Open year round, Verrill's is the kind of farm stand where you can find every single ingredient you'd need for a last-minute gourmet party. Which is why visitors often find themselves elbow to elbow with famous Boston chefs choosing the best of the crop from the rows and rows of crisp, fresh-picked local produce. In addition to fruits and vegetables, the stand also stocks gourmet supplies including imported olive oils, fresh breads, seasonings, and pastas, while the on-site deli offers cheeses, soups, sandwiches, prepared dinners, and freshly baked desserts. The wide and stunning selection of flowers means your table will look as fresh as your meal will taste. 11 Wheeler Rd., Concord, MA verrillfarm.com/.
We’ve all experienced it: the unmistakable squeak from inside a wall, those dreaded droppings on the kitchen counter, or — worse — a face-to-face encounter with an eight-legged or winged intruder. When bats, rats, spiders, termites, or other pests worm their way into your humble abode, call this fearless team pronto. Not only will they safely trap and remove the uninvited guests, they’ll also repair minor damage, decontaminate the site, and seal up potential reentry points to ensure your home remains trespasser-free. ultrasafepest.com.
You’ve finally chosen the perfect masterpiece for your living room—why ruin it with a cheap, mass-produced frame? Go where the top galleries, museums, and collectors go, and you can rest assured that your artwork or favorite family photo will remain in mint condition for years to come thanks to A Street’s archival framing techniques. It’ll look sharp, too, courtesy of hundreds of handcrafted frame styles in materials such as steel, hardwood, and even gold leaf. 755 Concord Ave., Cambridge, MA astreetframes.com.
Between hitting the dance floor and hitting the bar, most wedding guests ignore the cake—or else pick halfheartedly at a slice that's too sweet on the outside, too dry on the inside. The veteran treat-makers at Party Favors will bake your choice of 10 kinds of batters (among them, carrot, almond, and lemon); pack it with moist fillings like cherries and cream, French mocha buttercream, and white chocolate-cinnamon mousse; and top it off with a just-right frosting. The result: a cake made to get, and keep, your guests' attention. 1356 Beacon St., Brookline, MA partyfavorsbrookline.com.
No post-appointment plans? You'll be scrambling to make some after a visit to this ego booster/blowout artist extraordinaire. Calling on fierce wattage and killer technique, Furxhi shapes locks into your desired frizz-free configuration, from stick straight to full-on Jessica Simpson—all the while complimenting in an exotic growl your "gorgeous," "hot" new look. One glance in the mirror, and you'll be hard-pressed to disagree. 9 Newbury St., Boston, MA mariorusso.com.
Be kind to those in your wedding party (after all, they put up with your occasional horrifying bouts of bridezilla). Pick out favorable, flirty frocks they might actually wear again, at Priscilla of Boston. The store carries its own line, Watters & Watters (plus the less expensive Wtoo collection), and a sassy assortment of Melissa Sweet. It's also one of the only local retailers that offers the coveted trendy Thread line. 801 Boylston St., Boston, MA priscillaofboston.com/.
By a mile, Marathon packs a lot of running expertise and merchandise into its very small Cambridge anchor store, but as they say, size doesn't matter. The prices aren't much lower than at those megastores, but the salespeople are knowledgeable runners, so the fit will be worth the money. If you like, they'll help you with your technique, and even analyze your feet. 1654 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA .