Las Olas Beauty
As you walk through Las Olas Beauty, passing by shelves of skin creams and bath products, you can tell the store knows its cosmetics. But if you venture back into the massage room, you'll see that the store's concept of beauty runs more than just skin deep. The various massages available are tailored to your particular needs, whether it's working out the knots in your neck or giving your lymphatic system a good jolt. If you're a newbie who thinks all massages are the same (ever had an Oriental?), you'll probably want to start with a mini massage ($40), a 30-minute stress buster ($40), or a Swedish ($70). If you want to step things up a bit -- and don't have especially frail bones -- try the deep tissue for $80. (Mini deep tissues are available for $40.) Another $80 treat is the Shirodhara, which includes a foot and hand massage while a stream of warm oil is poured onto your forehead (the opposite of Chinese water torture). But if you're ready to go all the way, lymphatic drainage therapy (of the face or body) costs $125; it's an invigorating, detoxifying boon to your immune system. Until you learn to stop slouching, consider this your health retreat.
You love the feel of brine in your face and rod 'n' reel in your hands, pulling with all your might to land who-knows-what on that hook. But you also know that the once-plentiful fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean have been woefully overharvested, and the much sought-after billfish, like marlin and swordfish, are a deep-blue treasure too precious to decimate. With Atlantic Taxidermy, you can have it both ways: hook your prize fish, let it go, and still hang it on your den wall. Owner and operator Joe Ribera supports catch and release, so Atlantic Taxidermy creates a replica mount of the big one you let get away. All you need to bring in are the exact measurements or a photograph for the work to begin. The price runs roughly $10.50 per inch, with a $350 minimum.
Arrrgh, maties, listen up to this tale. T'were back in Aught One, and I were takin' the clipper Mary Sue Matilda 'round the Horn. A mighty gale blew in from the west, and the Mary Sue were tossed like slab meat to a hound. Lost, we were. Me crew, good 'n' true, were a-fearin' fer their lives. So I reached into me skivvies and pulled out me chart from Bluewater. I airn't afraid to say me men wept with relief, 'cause they knew that Bluewater's got the chart fer what's ailin' ya. Their 5,000-square-foot store has more than 35,000 nautical books and charts in stock. Now, I'm an ol' salt who likes paper 'tween me fingers, but Bluewater's got electronic charts to boot, and everything's also fer the buyin' over the Internet. So prepare fer the ill winds, and set yer bearings on Latitude 26-06.05 North, Longitude 80-07.66 West, where you'll find Bluewater open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. If'n you show up on Sunday, laddie, yer out of luck.
Here's a tip: After you buy that new snorkeling or scuba-diving mask, take it to your bathroom. Push out a sliver of toothpaste -- paste, young ocean explorer, not gel -- and rub the paste with your finger on the mask's inside glass. Rinse the mask, then do it once more. That little process will take away any film on the glass and help prevent your mask from fogging up just as that barracuda darts by ten feet below your fins. That's just one tip you can get from the helpful staff at Divers Cove, a full-service shop on University Drive in Davie that has received a five-star rating from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). Divers Cove sells everything you'll need to visit the natural paradise that exists just below the waves off the coasts of Broward and Palm Beach counties -- from buoyancy control devices on down to gloves. At Divers Cove, for roughly $30 to $80, you could be swimming off the coast of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, new mask and snorkel in hand. The PADI-certified dive center also offers weekend and evening dive classes ranging from beginners to divemasters. Prices vary depending on times and certification. Divers Cove also works with two local charter companies to offer dive trips from Hillsboro Inlet and Port Everglades.
It's a little intimidating to walk into a store past tarantulas and scorpions situated right at the front door. But, after passing the creepy crawlies, you'll be dazed by the variety of creatures on display at Underground Reptiles. Poison dart frogs of the brightest blues and yellows, green iguanas, and yellow- and brown-striped baby leopard geckos fill cages on shelves throughout the store -- and those are the most common varieties. Besides the crunchy crickets and wiggly wax worms being sold for food, there's also a back corner where the dangerous serpents are kept, venomous snakes in secured terrariums. Want an odd feeling? Peer at the black mamba from only three feet with just a thin barrier of plexiglass protecting you, then turn around to see a cute half-dollar-sized baby tortoise. It was strangely unsettling when we did it. But cold-blooded critters are sometimes joined by their mammalian kin at Underground -- hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and other rare mammals. For the showstopper, there's a python big enough to eat your dog. The store will even bring out a slew of slithering friends for your kids' birthday party. Sssseriously.
The trendy stylists at the Strand can save you from yourself. Like, when you go to get yet another round of blond highlights, they can stop you. Talk some sense into you. Have a style intervention. With a cool razor-cut or a complementary all-over color, they can take you from 2001 straight into the present. Hip, superstylish, and yet really, really nice, they will work with your hair texture and personal vision to make you look as if you just floated off the pages of a fashion magazine. It doesn't hurt that, when you enter the salon, a host will offer you a glass of wine -- even at 11 in the morning. Take a seat in one of the comfy leopard-print sofas and flip through giant stacks of magazines or check out all the fun art on the walls. You can get thermal straightening, waxing, and manicures here, and the salon bills itself as the place for hair extensions. Prices are moderate -- with men's cuts costing $30 and up; women's, $50 plus. The only Catch-22, says one client, is that "Once you're drunk from all that wine, you'll end up buying some of the really cool handmade jewelry that they sell."
Once upon a time, the only things you needed to get to the big leagues were hopes, dreams, maybe a homemade bat, raw ability, desire, and a father who forced you to switch-hit from the time you were in diapers. My, how the times they have a-changed! The five-tool player of tomorrow probably smears mink-oil paste into his palm-padded glove before donning metal cleats, polarized sunglasses, and an Under Armour T-shirt just to take some cuts in the batting cage. Or he nestles a bat weight on a Big Barrel Plasma to get his speed up before cranking up the ol' batting machine and slapping the horsehide into the outfield. All of the aforementioned are abundant at Batter's Box (the Coral Springs shop has the batting cages, $2.25 for 20 pitches at a range of speeds), which is perfect for aspiring Cabreras, Sosas, and Jeters or just looking good through the beer inning.
The half-taunt on the front window says, "If you bought a bike here... you would have made that light," as if the indignity of sitting at the railroad crossing at Prospect and Powerline could be any worse. It's a funny jibe from a place that suggests by its very name that all bikers, from hot-shit punks to weekend-leather posers, are welcome inside. Funny thing, because the cozy, family-run shop in the light-industrial area does accommodate all kinds, including the tykes who can fire up a cassette of, say, "Iron Giant" while you browse the bikes or hammer out the details of a repair job in the shop out back. The owners, Bill and Ona Bustos, have a reputation as "decent and honest," as one customer literally on the street (on a Kawasaki, was it?) described them. The website could use updating, but at least it links to the contents of 23 parts and accessories catalogs for quick shopping.
It can be expensive to buy rubber. And, no, we're not talking about variety packs of contraceptive measures. Tires, baby, tires. These days, a set of four brand-new, off-the-production-line radials can set you back close to $1,000. That's a lot of dough, especially if you don't want to sink a ton of money into your ride. But Friendly Tire in Margate has the economical solution: used tires. Located in an industrial park near U.S. 441, Friendly Tire carries radials in all makes and sizes and does a brisk business. It's often busy any day of the week, because the service is (as the name implies) friendly and the tires are great deals, ranging from $17 to $22 per tire for an average tire size. And that includes installation! Although the tires are used, they have been inspected by Friendly Tire's staff, and many are roadworthy for tens of thousands of miles more. But be warned: You won't find an air-conditioned waiting room with the latest US Weekly. In fact, you have to wait outside as Friendly Tire's staff changes your tires. But that's no big deal. You go to Friendly Tire for a great deal on reliable radials.
There's something wonderfully mischievous about going swimming without so much as a millimeter of lycra between you and the water. There's something even better about doing it at night, and at a very public locale. A good place to disrobe and experience the all-American thrill of skinny-dipping is on Fort Lauderdale Beach, just north of the Yankee Clipper Hotel (1140 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), where it's just dark enough to be inconspicuous, yet there's enough light for you to see any bad guys who might come your way. Or, for that matter, officers of the law.

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