Pregnancy is wonderful when there's an entire warehouse full of clothes to fit your moods, which, by the way, rise and fall like a yo-yo. At this manufacturer's outlet you'll find everything from the slinky and sensual to the obviously pregnant. Racks of cool eveningwear stand near stacks of Peter Pan collar shirts in floral prints and pastels. There are even work clothes and office suits for expectant women who run on more than a biological clock. Saleswomen can help build your wardrobe. But the best part is the prices. The most expensive blazers cost $40, twill shorts are $11.99, dresses go for $24.99, and shirts start at $10.99. Just think, with the money you save you can indulge whatever weird craving is consuming you.
The in-line skater brings home a new set of wheels. They are too big. This bothers him. He returns to Universal, where he purchased the wheels a day earlier. Returns are no problem, he's told, even though he'd opened the packages. "Where do you skate?" he is asked. A nearby rink, he replies. "Oh, really? I used to skate out there. These wheels are too hard for that surface. You'd be better off with something softer, such as these," the clerk says, holding out a new package of wheels. Not only is the clerk's selection the proper size and better for the intended purpose, it also costs a lot less money. The clerk wraps up the new wheels, signs a form, then reaches into the register for a twenty-dollar refund. The customer is bothered no more. In fact he is delighted. Service like this is rare, he thinks to himself. Service like this is why Universal wins the Best Skate Shop award year after year. Universal is the best, hands down.
The wet T-shirt contests? Gone. The spring-breakers toppling into the pool with brewskis in their hands? History. In fact the pool has gone the way of South Beach crackhouses and disappeared completely. Resurrecting Fort Lauderdalian bacchanalia never really worked for Miami, where the action is a more sophisticated version of sleazy. So rather than continue the bikini-contest beach life and big-fake-boobs volleyball games that made it infamous, Penrod's has shifted gears. It now caters to South Beach regulars, families, and happy-hour drunks who would rather gather with friends than frequent trendy hotel bars. The sand here comes right up to the back door of the restaurant and is planted with tepees, hammocks, and beach chairs. Grab yourself a piña colada from the 'tender at the tiki hut, enjoy a fruit salad at an intimate table for two next to a cabana, and enjoy the peace and quiet. No one will kick you out, demand that you purchase another drink, or ask the make of your watch -- if you're wearing one, that is, since time has a way of slipping away in this hidden sanctuary.
"I can't even begin to describe Fahrenheit," says Keila Crucet, manager at Alberto Cortes. But after taking a whiff of the sample stick soaked in Christian Dior's hawthorn and sandalwood fragrance for men, she finds just the right words: "It's very out there." Besides offering such eloquent descriptions, Crucet will advise you on when to apply a certain eau de toilette. For instance Yves Saint Laurent's Opium is a winter fragrance that should not be worn in the mornings. "It's very overpowering; you would kill everyone around you," she cautions. She'll also acquaint you with the liquors, herbs, spices, and flowers stored in bottles and flacons, which are blended to rouse intoxicating, olfactory emotions. Boucheron Pour Homme includes orange, basil, sage, moss, and patchouli, among other ingredients. Lolita Lempicka, a floral eau de parfum, smells of violets, ivy leaves, vanilla, and more. Escada Pour Homme, a fragrance that evokes the Orient, is made from cognac and musk. For children Givenchy's Tartine et Chocolat is a fresh, sparkling scent of plum, peach, mango, and marigold. Most of Crucet's customers are South Americans who were referred by friends. At Alberto Cortes not only can you call upon a knowledgeable staff, but you can buy aromatic essences for about 50 percent less than retail.
It's that time again. Fido is a mess, and you're in no mood to wrestle him into the tub. For 40 years Dog Charm has catered to the needs of area pet owners. At a cost of just $25, these canine lovers will bathe shaggy manes and brush them to groomed perfection. And they'll throw in a good nail-clipping. For $60 they'll perfectly shave him so he can withstand the brutal Florida summer. And this is no cost-cutting trim; these dog charmers are as sensitive to mutts' allergies as the little beasts themselves. Forget about ticks and fleas. One visit to this place and that annoying morning scratching will be a distant memory. Bring the pooch in early and you'll get him back by afternoon. Appointments are recommended.
Short of having a tailor make your clothes, it's hard to look good when you are a big or tall man. Let's face it, most stores catering to large gentlemen feature mostly T-shirts emblazoned with moronic slogans about the "big dog." Not Rochester Big & Tall, which opened its Aventura store in February 1999. Style and fashion are the guides here. Rochester offers a huge selection of designer suits and casual business attire, from big names such as Versace, DKNY, Burberry's, Tommy Hilfiger, and Pronto. Their sales staff is knowledgeable and professional. Their prices are high, but quality doesn't come cheap. The average price for a suit is between $800 and $1200. And, hey, if you must have a tailor, Rochester's also offers more expensive suits, which can be made to your exact specifications in just thirteen days.
Joe Corbett greets customers while wearing a belt with fish embroidered on it and a button that reads, "I'm protecting what's in my genes. Are you?" Corbett thus models his two main passions: vitamins and fish. Most people know Corbett for the latter. The walls of his store are decorated with photographs of happy customers and their prize catches, mostly monstrous mahi-mahi. Also filling the place are numerous lures and a collection of antique rods and reels. The display counters and stands are replete with a wide variety of fishing accouterments, from maps to tools for constructing flies. In the back a family member expertly repairs fishing gear on a little workbench. Nearby several freezers are stocked full of frozen ballyhoo, silversides, menhaden, and other species. Two water tanks teem with live shrimp that are sure to entice fish onto your hook. And if you visit Kendall Bait and Tackle, chances are, with a minimum of prompting, Corbett will preach the gospel of a happy life through vitamins.
Retail stores and malls in Miami-Dade County continue to multiply exponentially, complicating the question of where to shop. Oh the Falls has its merits: lush foliage, soothing sounds of water, and a view of the sky. But on a sticky summer day, when it rains sideways, you better hope you're not strolling down the sidewalk toting your brand-new wedding dress. The fortresslike Shops at Sunset Place also boasts that indoor/outdoor thing, including fake trees and a lot more concrete. The IMAX theater is swell, but the joint is really just an inward-looking CocoWalk. Bal Harbour? Too chichi, even though the Everyman Gap and Banana Republic are there. But pay to park our car? Don't think so, even less because the management is squabbling with a neighboring church. Tacky! We like to stay dry, not feel claustrophobic, park for free, and, of course, enjoy a wide selection of shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and myriad free events like antique and flower shows. Aventura more than meets all those requirements. After a multimillion-dollar revamp, it touts major anchors such as Burdines, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's; 250 specialty stores, including chains like Restoration Hardware, BCBG, and Nine West; plus a smattering of independent boutiques. There's also 24 new theaters and enough food to feed a Third World country for years. An early morning mall-walking exercise program is available for those who overindulge. Quite simply shopping utopia.
Worldwide is a perennial winner for the simple reason that it's hard to imagine poking around the store's carefully arranged array of international newspapers, glossy magazines, and offbeat cultural rags, and leaving empty-handed. There's simply a mind-boggling wealth of reading options. Looking for a take on Northern Ireland that differs from the mainstream media? Try a copy of the Irish Voice, which features a weekly column straight from the eloquent pen of Sinn Fein head honcho Gerry Adams. Out-of-the-ordinary music more your speed? How about snagging the Beat, which focuses on world grooves; No Depression, which covers the altcountry universe; La Banda Elastica, a colorful chronicle of the latest in rock en español; or the hoary punk-rock bible Maximum Rock and Roll? Sure, Worldwide also carries popular faves such as The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and (ahem) Miami New Times, but isn't the hot-off-the-presses issue of the Hemp Times precisely what's missing from your life?
In a small warehouse Liliana Perez stores papier-mâché creations, some up to six feet tall and covered in crepe paper of every hue imaginable. Each week Perez says she moves about 200 piñatas, including bright-green dragons, coffee-color horses, jolly clowns, and even butterflies. Drum-shape piñatas are stacked to the ceiling; they go for wholesale prices to party-supply stores. "I can make a piñata for any occasion," Perez boasts. A few years ago Metrozoo asked Perez to make five life-size animals for display. During the Christmas season, she produces Santa Clauses. And some corporations have ordered their company logos in the form of piñatas. Perez even made a perfectly round sun with tentaclelike rays that brightened up a little boy's winter birthday party. When the children pulled on its orange, yellow, and red strings, a shower of sweets poured down on them. Prices for Perez's piñatas range from $12 to $250.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®