Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Daryl Smith, the guy who can deliver the best massage in Broward, has been cracking backs since his early years. "I used to walk on my dad's back when I was a kid," Smith says. "I was always interested in why sometimes his back cracked and sometimes it didn't." After he worked in a factory at Eastman Kodak, Smith says, his wife persuaded him to try his hands at professional massage therapy. He graduated in 2000 from the American Institute of Massage Therapy and has been pounding flesh professionally ever since. He currently works out of the office of Dr. Rick Bruns in Fort Lauderdale, where's he's built up a street rep for the right touch. "I have a way of knowing where people need attention," he says about his technique. "I just let my fingers do the walking."
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.
"Look honey, we should talk. I know you've noticed that things have been a little — God, how can I say this? — slow in the bedroom lately. No, no, don't get mad. No tears, here. I wouldn't bring it up if I didn't care, right? But honesty is important. Remember what it was like back in the day? The honeymoon? That weekend in Marathon Key? The marathon in Marathon, right? Well, hon', I think we've lost that magic. We need some help relighting the fire. After you get the stroganoff out of the oven, why don't we swing by Megasex in Fort Lauderdale? The store has close to 20,000 adult films for rent and sale. Each week, they get 50 new titles, so there's a wide variety. I know you don't like renting the same movie twice. Also, they have dildos, cock rings, lube. If something catches your eye, we'll buy it. Cost doesn't matter when it comes to my gal. How's that sound? Perfect. I'll run to the garage to get the sex swing set up; you put the ball gags in the dishwasher. Then we'll hop in the Sienna. I know. I love you too."
In the world of mechanics, it can be hard to know whom to trust. That's why we're really glad we found USA Auto Care, a family-owned and -operated, full-service, no-fuss auto repair shop with three convenient locations: a main facility in Sunrise, minutes from the Sawgrass Expressway, a second location in Lauderhill, and a third in Wilton Manors. Although some mechanics offer mediocre work at paycheck-murdering prices, all with the gruff attitude of mountain trolls, USA Auto is reliable, friendly, fast, and affordable. The folks there understand and appreciate the value of a small business and treat their clients accordingly, servicing a number of local fleets and giving each vehicle their careful, professional touch. Unlike many obscure, independent auto repair shops, USA Auto has large, clean facilities and an informative website with monthly coupons for common services, like an oil, lube, and filter for $14.95. It even has a 30-second promotional video and a section where customers can leave feedback. How novel! USA Auto is the type of place where the girl at the front desk, usually the owner's daughter, always knows your name and doesn't hesitate to pop out back to confirm a price or double-check on your question with the boss. It's more efficient than a dealership and more friendly than the other cheap guys, and we like that. A lot.
We never stop hearing about the benefits of yoga, like its easing of depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and migraines. While the benefits are many, the typical $18-per-class price tag isn't so Zen. By offering pay-what-you-can community classes, Red Pearl Yoga is bringing yoga to the people. All of the people — not just the rich, stay-at-home trophy moms. Community classes are currently on Mondays and Wednesdays, but Red Pearl hosts a variety of classes at all skill levels every day of the week. Your first class is only five bucks, with options for packages. Find even more peace of mind on the mat in more intimate workshops, or even opt for a massage. For local residents, Red Pearl Yoga is truly a gem of positivity and transformation in a world dominated by consumerism.
This is the place for the ghetto-fab gay who's just gotta have that Gucci tank or the Boca babe who dares to be different by getting her St. John's skirt slightly used. The hipster who needs to look even hipper in a proper green Lolita Lempicka zippered crop top, or the glamour girl with a hankering for sequins. These people all have a secret. They know where to get that item that's going to make them not just look but actually be cooler! That secret is Kismet Recycled Vintage & Designer Clothing store. Located in Delray Beach's Pineapple Grove, the store is both affordable and extremely stylish. And we mean, like, The Sartorialist good. There's an abundance of quality Armani, Diors, Prada; these guys know how to dress. Owned and run by the attractive and decidedly fantastic couple Aly Gore and Liam Milano, Kismet isn't just rad duds. It has also hosted experimental-in-the-best-way-possible Lake Worth musical acts like Universal Expansion and Cop City Chill Pillars. The best news? Now that Kismet is your secret, you're free to keep or share. But remember, greed don't look sexy on nobody.
You're always on your bike. You get groceries on your bike. You go to Laser Wolf on your bike. You play polo on your bike. For God's sake, your baby rides a bike. Biking is your life! And now that bicycles have taken over the roadways, your needs have changed. A pine-scented air freshener is pointless. You need bike lights, a big basket, a U-lock, a decent helmet, and a place to stash your Nalgene. Bicycle Evolution allows you to morph, as a mobile beast, from a car-driving dud into a fully functional cyclist. Owner Matthew Swinehart is a helpful dude, trustworthy with your precious vehicle, and he runs a perfectly homey mom-and-pop shop. You need your fixie fixed? He's your man. Besides getting some of the best names in bikes, like Biria, Dahon, and Fuji, you can also relive your youth on a new skateboard or longboard. But Bicycle Evolution is about more than just rolling around on two wheels. It's about community, and you'll always have a squatting spot with like-minded people at this local bike store.
Have you ever taken a chance at a random salon and ended up with a totally busted 'do? It's a First World problem, yes, but a botched hair job is a traumatic experience. Yeah, you can wear hats or headbands, but it's rather difficult to hide your entire head from public view. Prevent any such dilemma by heading over to the Factory Salon. The urban spot is filled with stylish stylists who can advise you on the best ways to update your mane. No need to worry about walking out with yet another girl-mullet. Unless, of course, that's what you want.