Swap Shop

In our world of Kmarts and Targets, big business has sucked the fun out of shopping. Little Timmy is no longer excited for a Sunday trip to Walmart, where he'll shuffle through fluorescent aisles, surrounded by dozens of bland, marked-down products and giant butts squeezed into electric scooters. And can you blame him? Poor Timmy. Gone are the days of eager anticipation, of wondering what gems he'll discover hidden in a secret corner of the store. These days, the most exciting thing he'll find is an unconscious old man leaning against the ramen noodles. Timmy needs to go to the Swap Shop. And when he gets to the big yellow Lauderdale landmark, he needs to go to the second floor, make a left at the arcade, and walk until he finds the Swap Shop's greatest stand — until he finds... the Man Cave. There, Timmy will find rows of samurai swords, axes, specialty knives, manly posters, and ninja stars. The Man Cave sells some of the coolest things you'll never use. Is it unnecessary? Sure. But so was going to the moon. And we did that for the same reason the Man Cave exists. Because it's fucking awesome.

They say you can read into a person's soul by peering closely at his or her... couch. Let's test it out: My couch has a layer of Cheetos grime, is propped up where one leg should be by a stack of unpaid student loan notices and grad school applications, and has a perfectly sized indention of my ass (Game of Thrones binge). If you guessed I'm a highly successful, well-balanced adult male with an active social life and vibrant sex drive, of course you are 100 percent correct. But the couches you'll find at Fort Lauderdale Mia Home Trends? These puppies each look like they should constantly be draped with a French model/chanteuse who will compliment your latest short story and ask for another whiskey sour, mon chouchou. The store specializes in right-angle heavy modern furniture, the building blocks to any chic home. From beds and couches to dining room tables and loungers, Mia Home is the place to pick up body holsters with some Continental pizzazz. Plus, the joint handles designs and staging, which in chic-speak means it has professionals who will make your house no longer look like it houses feral wildebeests. The prices run a little high, but fret not, budget ballers. Mia Home has furniture rental.

Booby Trap Love Stuff

Could porn videos be the new vinyl record? They're something tangible. There's artwork, liner notes, an ability to play it back as many times as you want. Even better, they come with a pause button. Too bad there aren't as many places where you can go browse the shelves for you and your mate's date night (YouPorn be damned). But Booby Trap Love Stuff dedicates an entire upstairs to digital smut. Ignore the wood-paneled walls and burnt-orange shag carpeting and delve into cl-ASS-ic titles like Bi-Bi Love #11, There Will Be Cum, and Tonsil Train. Plan on having a family movie night before the real fun starts? There's a remarkably large selection of standard fare films — all on VHS — that little Dick and Jane will enjoy. But for something a little more hardcore than The Preacher's Wife or Regis Philbin's My Personal Workout, stick to the front of the room.

Total Wine & More

Why do kids love Disney World? They love it because when they step through the turnstile and the sea of people parts, they don't see just an amusement park. They see a world — an endless land of fun, stretching as far as the eye can see. They won't get to do it all. There will no doubt be rides that go unridden or candy uneaten. But the possibilities are endless. And that's exciting. In 15 years, that kid will step into Total Wine & More, and the same feeling will wash over them. They will look over the rows and rows of beers, surely some they've never even heard of. Then they'll get to the wine, gallons of reds, whites, all eager to find a home in a stomach. And just when they think they can't take anymore, when their knees start to shake from joy, they'll stumble into the liquor section. From beer and winetastings to educational classes, Mickey Mouse ain't got shit on Total Wine & More.

Precious moments deserve celebrating. And nothing says "I love you" or "Congratulations!" like a fine display of flowers. But if you're going to drop some serious cash on a floral arrangement, go for unique style and forgo that mass-produced, cliché-looking vase. Keep it classy. That's what the folks at Plantation Florist know best. The design-driven and family-owned business offers a gorgeous bouquet selection. Take for example, the "Fashionista Bloom" ($69.95 to $89.95), which consists of a glass vase wrapped with green taffeta and tiny pink ribbons. Green hydrangeas are spruced up with yellow, light pink roses, and gerberas, mixed with pale yellow carnations and green chrysanthemums. Splurge on the striking "Lush and Lavender" ($108.95 to $127.95) to really impress that special somebody. This fun arrangement features mini lavender roses, cool-looking leaves, and purple stock placed in a white, mod vase.

"Family-owned business" doesn't come to mind when pulling up to a garden center at a corporate retailer like Sears. But Wonder Gardens is just that. Owner Roxie Pelliccia has grown her business for more than 25 years in a nook at the Westfield Mall, along with help from son Lenny. They're happy to guide you to what grows best in Florida's summer sun, and you'll find them propagating new seedlings to sell during a weekday afternoon lull. Wonder Gardens carries a variety of ornamentals and edibles — from bleeding hearts and bougainvilleas to mangoes, figs, and eggplants — that look way more vibrant than the crop for sale at any other big-box store (and are cheaper too). Plus, i sttocks the soil, pots, fertilizers, and décor that will help you transform your garden from plant cemetery to sanctuary. If you've ever dreamed of actually going 'round the mulberry bush in your own backyard, here's where to start.

It's a DIY place, handmade, a labor of love as much as a commercial establishment, and that's what we love about Local Smoking Domain. A rickety haven of closet-like rooms in an undistinguished strip mall off South Dixie Highway (with just a few hand-painted signs out front, it's easy to miss), LSD offers the full gamut of paraphernalia common to head shops everywhere. What sets it apart is the intense artistry of many pieces — brightly spackled glass pipes and bongs of shapes from The Arabian Nights or out of high-tech space probes — and the gentle, solicitous air of owners Courtney Hoekstra and Clint Zimmer, who clearly see da kine as adjunct to a life of — that hoary old saw — peace and love. A Pete Seeger memorial concert poster gazes down from one wall; fliers for a cannabis business conference sponsored by legalization hero Bobby Platshorn are scattered about. Bobby's been an inspiration for the shop, Clint says; Old Left icon Pete would surely bless the purity of the cause.

If surfing ate a pot brownie, became a vegetarian, and started doing yoga, you'd have paddleboarding. In recent years, you may have noticed an increased number of people standing up in the middle of the Intracoastal, seemingly gliding their way across the water like a trendy Jesus. You may have also noticed a shared facial feature on all these aquatic saviors — a big ol' smile. That's because the paddleboard is like a big buoyant pill, a cure for the stresses of land life. If you live in South Florida and you've still never been, shame. But don't worry. You can change that fact at Sunrise Paddleboards. From private group lessons to tours of Fort Lauderdale and even fitness classes, Sunrise Paddleboards is ready to prescribe your needed dose of chill. Sunrise Paddleboards knows everything there is to know about surfing's laidback cousin, offering rides on the beach, in the Intracoastal, during the day and at night. This is the closest you'll ever get to being a manatee. Unless you keep eating all that pizza.

What happens under the sea? Well, besides singing crabs and mermaid love stories? Do you know? You don't have gills, so probably not. Oceans cover a vast majority of our planet, yet — to us — they remain mysterious. What if we're missing out on dolphin concerts or crab wars? What if there is some type of undiscovered bottom-dwelling oceanic species of worm that poops gold and chocolate? Don't we owe it to ourselves to find out? Yes. Yes, we do. And the first stop on your journey of aquatic exploration should be Fort Lauderdale's Underseas Sports. Not only does it have all the gear you need to find this new gold-poopin' worm but the folks there will teach you how to use it too (the gear, not the worm). Underseas Sports offers an array of classes and certifications, from the most inexperienced of beginners to professional-level master classes. And once you know how to not die in the water, they'll even take you on a dive trip to cool local reefs or even the Florida Keys. Since 1971, Underseas Sports has helped make our planet a little less mysterious. And, one day, they're going to find that goddamned worm.

Any tackle shop with a taxidermy hammerhead shark sprawled atop its roof is worth its weight in one-ounce sinkers and fluorocarbon leader. Such is the case with Carl's. Packed inside the 1,334-square-foot store is everything from lead-head jigs for your snapper rigs to electric reels for the next great white shark they catch off the coast. You can dream about hooking up with one of their Star rods while they service and respool your Penn. Fifteen minutes in Carl's and you'll have your live shrimp, bonito hunks, and a net for when you score that ten-pound red grouper you've been waiting for. And here's a bonus: You can snag your ice and brews from a convenience store next door. Fish on.

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