Want free birth control? Here it is: A decent daycare in Fort Lauderdale costs $700 to $800 a month minimum. If this information is coming at you a little too late and that bun is already warming up in its oven, you've likely already accepted this terrifying fact and must now settle on which of these facilities you're going to turn over your salary to and entrust with little Snoogums. We've taken all the tours, interrogated all the directors, critiqued all the lunches, spied on all the teachers, and weighed the pros and cons (this one has security cameras, but that one has more shade trees on the playground) and can confidently declare that First United Methodist Church has the winning combo. Though some people tout Montessori programs (which cost the same as college tuition) or Nova Southeastern's program (harder to get into than college), this cute, pink downtown church school has a lovely, well-trained staff, clean and well-maintained toys, and indoor and outdoor space to roam, so your kid won't be stuck in one place all day. Once you get her in, it'll be harder to get her out — she'll want to stay and play even past the 6 p.m. closing time. Thank goodness for the lovely Mercedes, who buzzes parents in, keeps sketchy people out, and bribes those little suckers out the door with a sticker at the end of every day.

Used to be, you had to pick between two crummy options: the affordable neighborhood salon with the nice lady whose haircut you can afford — but who's going to make you look like Aunt Millie till it grows out — or the way-cool salon with the punky staff and trendy cuts — but that's going to cost you $4,020, just for single-process. (You will know these people by their cooing "Ooh, you look fabulous" in that fake voice.). But now, you have Richard. Though he's a veteran of Fort Lauderdale's nicest salons and is up-to-date on fashionable looks, he never caught that whole Being Judgmental virus. It's like he honestly didn't even notice that you walked in with a ratty-ass 'do, and he really does remember your life drama even though you haven't been in for five months. But underneath that sweet-uncle vibe are some ninja scissor skills. Basically, he just hums and chuckles and gives you wine, and two hours later, you walk away looking ten years younger with a cut that really will work with your texture. And since you haven't been pressured to buy any $37 carbon-fiber, sulfate-free, wind-defying gloss, you'll have a few bucks still in your pocket.

Pelican Grand Beach Resort
Courtesy of Pelican Grand Hotel

Lots of hotels are on Fort Lauderdale Beach... but how many of them are actually on the oceanfront? (None of that across-the-street nonsense here.) Lots of hotels have restaurants inside... but how many have an old-fashioned ice cream shop? And lots of hotels have pools... but how many of them have a Lazy River? The Pelican Grand's location (just out of earshot of the strip's loud bars), its old-fashioned Southern-style veranda, and most of all, its superwarm hospitality make this place deliciously, languidly out of place. Though we generally despise corporate takeovers, the fact that the Pelican was assumed by the Noble House brand of luxury boutique hotels means it is constantly being upgraded and will have to live up to the chain's high standards. Sign in, unpack, and have the bartender sling you one of his amazing cocktails. (Pelican Brief, anyone?) Pro tip: The hotel has about 25 rooms that are privately owned by individuals (like condos), and if you score one of these (ask for a manager when you book), you can sometimes save $100 per night (though housekeeping may cost extra).

LF Las Olas

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?

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