Somewhere between college and meeting the woman of your dreams, you realize that plaid couch with worn armrests acts as a large neon sign, almost visible from the street below, blinking: Bachelor! Bachelor! Bachelor! It's time for a change, good man, and nowhere can a more drastic change be found than at Trend Furniture by Design in downtown Hollywood. Take a look. There's the cushioned chaise longue with the sloped back and six-foot base extending out in a curve, as if it were a human tongue gently arching forward. That little chair will set you back half a paycheck or so. Now move over to the lamps. They extend up from the floor, their colors as vivid as their curves smooth, as if the metal bases were stems reaching upward to give birth to flowers (uh, yeah, the light bulbs go in those flower-lookin' things). A lamp can be had for $200. But then you'll see the couches. Oh, the couches! Many use two contrasting colors, the arms one color, the base and back another. The cushions give lightly as the lines of the couch move out and envelope as if they were the curves of a beautiful woman. Price? $1,200. Pricey, sure, but this furniture store offers some wild and sexy stuff.

"I found a Hello Kitty coin purse!" and other exhortations are guaranteed to spring to your lips after you're finally able to crawl out of this sinkhole of sale items, this quicksand of quirkiness. Or if the mouthless cat isn't your thing, just substitute another favorite only-a-buck goody: a bag o' confetti, perhaps? How about some glow-in-the-dark aquarium rocks? Don't miss the Auto Aisle! Never pay $1.49 for plastic ice trays ever again or $1.09 for a votive candle. Not at the 99 Cents Store. Best of all, the large selection of merchandise priced over a buck -- but rarely more than a fin -- yields discounted finds like glass cabbage heads, aluminum paella pans, cheap cologne, and all sorts of other utterly useless but nonetheless completely fascinating totems of our disposable society. Most dollar stores deal in down-on-their-luck junk, but this formidable array of low-budget items is in a class by itself.

There's nothing but Christmas in this unassuming shop, yet it's open year-round. That it has survived for three decades is a Christmas miracle if ever there was one. (Heck, eggnog gets only one month a year, and that stuff is molten crack.) Inside, you'll wander past entire rooms of ornaments, stockings, tree skirts, Christmas lights. At least 35 styles of Christmas trees decorated in themes. A five-foot-tall stuffed snowman. Snowman head ornaments. Wire frame sleighs outlined in winking tube lights and deer that nod their light-filled heads. A six-foot-tall upright reindeer made of what appears to be artificial hedge, wearing a red scarf and vest. Santa dolls in more variations than Barbie: poinsettia-patterned-coat Santa; pimped-out, crushed-velvet-coat Santa; fur-lined-wilderness-coat Santa. Two rooms dedicated to miniature, achingly detailed Christmas scenes: the snow village, the alpine village, the Dickens village (Hark! Be that Scrooge's house?). And of course, more crèches than you can shake a tiny wooden Jesus at. Even supporting players Balthazar, Melchior, Tiberius, Esau, Obediah, Zachariah, and Samson are here, pocket-sized, to enrich your favorite Bible story diorama, 52 weeks per annum.

Biking in Broward is dangerous business. Drivers refuse to give way to other cars, let alone some flesh-and-bone human propped up on a metal contraption with two one-inch-wide rubber tires. Without a bike that can hop street corners, absorb shocks, and then stop in seconds, you'll become just one more bicycling casualty in South Florida, turned into pavement by some rusty, fuel-powered tank. That's why you need Kevin's Bicycles, a turnkey bicycle outfit thriving in the age of automobiles. Specializing in urban rides, including such sweet bikes as Mongooses and Calois (prices start at $139), Kevin's is the last of a dying breed: a locally owned store and repair shop that can inspire you to give up your car every now and then. What's more, like a car dealership, Kevin's takes trade-ins. Or let's say you don't like bicycles. That's OK. There's a fancy unicycle for sale. Readers' Choice: Lauderdale Cyclery
If what you want is a bicycle -- not an ass kissing, not a motivational speech, not a new best friend -- then go to Bicycle. Wayne -- the awesomely coifed (think '80s skater haircut on a tall, skinny, gray-haired dude) proprietor who runs the one-man show -- is serious about these machines. Whether you want a road bike, a hybrid, a mountain bike, or a cruiser; whether you want to buy components or have your bike tuned up, Wayne is the man to see. He may not smile; he may not sweet-talk you; he might even tell you to go away if you're not the serious kind of customer he's looking for. But there are two things Wayne never has to worry about: (1) dissatisfied customers and (2) having to wipe brown stuff off his nose.

Most of the plants at Tropical World Nursery didn't just pop up in some mass-produced South Florida farm. Many of the bromeliads, cacti, and orchids have traveled farther than you did on your last vacation. Tropical World grows most of its stuff a few thousand miles away, on the side of a dormant Mexican volcano. The nursery's South of the Border location, at 3,500 feet above sea level, allows it to produce plants that won't grow to maturity in South Florida's heat. Once of age, the plants can survive in local backyards, says owner Michael Marino, who makes regular trips to Mexico to retrieve the full-grown specimens. Many of the rare varieties are shipped via suitcase on domestic flights. That overhead doesn't make Tropical World the kind of place most folks will go to landscape the entire homefront, but the unique blooms of one-of-a-kind plants make it ideal for a yard's finishing touches. And they do have some deals. Check out the $6 cape primrose, or streptocarpus, a relative of the African violet. They also have carnivorous pitcher plants (sarracenia) that grow in burgundy colors with orchid-looking leaves for $5. The best part is that you can brag to the neighbors that your new shrubbery is volcano-grown.

For those of you looking to furnish your pad like a seafood shack, this is the place to go. Culpepper & Co.'s crowded yard of goods has reams of nautical-themed antiques pulled from the hulls of boats and shipyards the world over. Owner David Culpepper spends two months a year combing shipyards and wrecking facilities in remote places, usually in Asia and the Near East. He returns with one man's trash and another man's item to piss off the wife when it ends up in the living room: rusting anchors, glass buoys, aging harpoons, and dresser drawers full of sailing flags. Just about every wall of the small showroom is covered in life preservers that look as if they've come in handy a few hundred times, and there are piles of oars scuffed from years of use on long-forgotten boats. Some stuff even still has that saltwater smell. Mmm. And it's cheaper than you may think to make your home look like Red Lobster. A fishing basket runs $15 and a brass porthole about $250. The wooden ship's wheel will set you back a few hundred as well, but you're not going to let her say no, are you?

Ragtops has come a long way from its early days, when it began in 1980 as three classic cars for sale outside a West Palm Beach gas station. Now the two-block-long business in West Palm Beach is packed with antique autos as part of its permanent museum collection or waiting for a good home. Ragtops sells about a dozen cars a month to collectors, who pay anywhere from a few thousand for an old MGB to six figures for rare finds. Ragtops salesmen don't give test drives of the precious rides easily, but the informed consumer can find a way behind the wheel. It might help to know the difference between a carburetor and a fuel injector, wear something from dad's closet, and mention that home in the Hamptons you've been meaning to buy. Ragtops allows cars to be cruised through the neighborhoods nearby, requiring a leisurely pace, but it'll still get your blood flowing to throw the shifter on one of these beauties. Take, for instance, the 1950 Austin A-90 Atlantic convertible, a tiny, cherry-red drop-top with a swooping back end and tan interior -- and a $38,900 price tag. Ragtops also stocks modern classics like the $89,500 Lamborghini Countach, a 1989 model that'll cause its driver to dress Miami Vice-style. Sure, it's nerve-wracking to test-drive a car that costs as much as a condo, but there are few better places to be on a fine Florida day than behind the wheel of a Marlboro-red '65 Stingray. The classic 'Vette might cost $46,500, but the test drive is free.

Lonely on a Friday night? Looking for some hand-held action? Well, the minute you walk into the brightly lit confines of the Adult Video Boutique, angels will sing on high. Oh wait, those aren't angels: That's Power 96 blasting over the speakers. That's right. Nelly is talking to you. He wants you to buy that shiny, double-headed dildo and get down to bizznaaas. With two whole walls and four rows of sex toys, the Adult Video Boutique has you nailed. Are you a novice? You might want to try the Sterling Stroker, the Chili Pepper Spicy Multi-Speed Dildo (shaped like a chili pepper), the Microwavable Hot Cock (the world's first!), or the Flying Eagle (a tiny, eagle-shaped contraption that goes over your no-no parts and, er, spreads its wings over your majestic mountaintop). For the more advanced, there's the Traveling G-Spot Tickler, the Vibrating Port-a-Pussy, the Xtreme Sports Penis Pump with Action Grips (for the snowboarder or windsurfer on the go), or the Ecstasy Rope (it's very Victorian). And if you need some favors for the party in your pants, you can also pick up a Pecker Party Whistle or Sammy Schlong the Singing Dong (picture that annoying singing trout but with balls). And you don't have to worry about wearing that trench coat and sunglasses at the AVB. The clientele buys their Mr. Stud Inflatable Party Dolls and Grape-scented Vibrating Jelly Vaginas with pride.

Location, location, location. It's what they say about real estate. But it's what they should say about adult video stores. Take, for example, Platinum Plus Video. Located on Federal Highway, between two of the area's most popular strip clubs -- Spearmint Rhino and Pure Platinum & Solid Gold -- this sinful store titillates with ceiling-to-floor windows displaying piece after piece of naughty lingerie. Walk inside and browse through the video selection. Just as wine connoisseurs like a particular vintage and region, porn aficionados like their fetishes. Big tits, oral, anal, gangbang -- Platinum Plus carries whatever you need to get that, well, inspiration. Trust us: There'll come a time when you'll need this place, which is open 24/7. We've been there. It'll be 1 a.m. on a muggy night. You just slipped all your cash into the G-string of some stripper named Destiny. And there, as you walk out disappointed, lit up on Federal Highway like a glow-in-the-dark rocket pocket, will be Platinum Plus Video. You'll have a credit card and a big, well, uh, itch that Destiny just wouldn't scratch.

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