Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Toward the end of each season, early in the morning, around 8, you'll see a line start to form outside a small boutique called LF (named after owner Laurie Furst) on Las Olas Boulevard. On end-of-season sale day, at about 9 a.m., the salespeople take a deep breath (betraying both dread and anticipation), brace themselves, and open the door for wolfish shoppers who will inevitably destroy the store in search of bargains on the usually very expensive (dare we say overpriced?) merchandise. The store carries young, fresh styles — all unique because the brands are exclusive to the store (plus a few fashion lines from London and Paris). The first weekend is by invitation-only to customers who have bought something before (afterward, anyone can get what's left); and while not officially recognized, the first day of the sale is an unequivocal holiday for the fashionably inclined youth around these parts. Girls skip school to spend the day rummaging with their moms. They trudge through the bodies, picking off shirts and pants and skirts, which, after an hour, hang limply on the disheveled shelves and racks. The scene takes on a macabre-party vibe, with shoppers resembling vultures as they pick at goods left after a fashion explosion. The little room's air conditioner can't handle the pressure, and sometimes the heat becomes unbearable. But brave girls and moms don't care. After all, beauty is pain, right?
Information regarding health and nutrition is more plentiful and easily available than ever before, yet somehow, many of us are not quite exemplars of well-being, especially amid the 9-to-5 grind. Fortunately, there are folks out there devoted to spreading the... health! Red Carrot Wellness provides health and nutritional coaching to individuals, groups, and corporations. These folks will help you shop for groceries, cook, and dine out more wisely. They'll come to your place of business to lead weekly yoga classes (just $175 for up to 40 people — tell the boss!), monthly nutrition workshops, detoxification cleanses, and more. Who among us could not benefit from tapping into the power of Pilates or learning more about the perils of sugar consumption?
Whether for a big wedding or a random Wednesday, the good people of Flowers and Found Objects will help you celebrate life with their brilliant vision and creations. Arrangements for all occasions can be found within the fragrant Las Olas boutique. Browse the portfolio and discover tasteful displays like the "Vanda Orchid Assortment" ($70 to $125), "Tropical Garden Centerpiece" ($125 to $150), and "Casablanca Lilies in Cylinder Vase" ($125 to $250) — all of which look as poetic as their titles. You can work with them to customize an order, or Flowers and Found Objects will take care of it completely. Or if you'd just like to pick out a single rose or sunflower, that's fine too. As if flowers weren't enough, the shop also offers lovely gourmet gift packages ($75 and up) and interesting decorative pieces — "found objects" such as clocks, vases, and statuettes that their stylish buyers have gathered from across the U.S.
Stores that hawk books are hard to find in South Florida, even if we count corporate Starbucks dispensaries tricked out with two stories of teen fiction, celebrity magazines, and more literary lions on the walls in pretentious murals than in the stockroom. Second Edition Book Shop is one of the few remaining members on the endangered-species list — and the best. Tucked into a shopping center off Stirling Road in Davie, Second Edition is tight and cozy on the inside. Stocked floor to ceiling, all the books choke the store with the sweet aroma of well-thumbed pages. Books cost half the sticker price or less. Up front, you'll find inviting leather chairs for test-driving the books. Although there's a literature section way in the far back, Second Edition's sweet spot is genre potboilers — mysteries and sci-fi adventures and sweaty romances, anything you might need to speed through a day at the beach.
Nothing tugs at the heartstrings like doe-eyed pups and fuzzy kittens — particularly those with no home to call their own. They gaze up at you with their innocent expressions, tilting their scruffy heads and raising one lone paw. All they want is love. But don't be fooled by Sarah McLachlan and her corporate shill. The folks at Warm Hearts Pet Rescue are doing the real work — pulling pets from the pound, enduring heartache and tough decisions, bathing, feeding, transporting — to save as many lives as possible. Warm Hearts is donation-based and volunteer-run, and its no-kill facility comes complete with two backyards for running, playpens for socializing, mega-sinks for washing, and all kinds of other pup perks to keep residents happy, entertained, and exercised until they find their forever homes. Need a new love in your life? If so, now you know where to go. And it ain't cheap to run a rescue this size, so maybe think of all those adorable animals next time you have some spare coin to contribute.
Counterintuitive or just plain amazing? These were our first thoughts upon encountering Happy Pappy's, a drive-through liquor store in Hollywood. Located on Griffin Road across the street from a pawn shop and next door to Happy Pappy's Sub Shop, this standalone mom-and-pop establishment looks like a little hut of joy, complete with a terra-cotta-colored awning and rainbow bubble letters spelling out the Happy Pappy's name. While the selection and prices are pretty middle-of-the-road, the mom-and-pop quality gives the establishment a dose of charm. As soulless, warehouse-sized Disney Worlds of liquor stores like Total Wine continue to dominate suburban markets, we're content with rolling up and getting serviced with our usual brown-bagged adult beverage of choice, especially since we don't even have to get out of the car. Happy Pappy's, which has been around since the '80s, is a clear favorite among locals, while its proximity to Fort Lauderdale airport makes it all too convenient for tourists looking to stock up on weekend supplies.