The budget-minded fashionista wears her clothes until they have holes. She invests in sensible yet sexy apparel and stays abreast of trends not by purchasing a new outfit every weekend but through careful buys of low-budget accessories. The right baubles and bangles can speak volumes, and at the right jewelry store they cost less than $10. Adriana Bijoux is located in the middle of a wholesale fashion strip mall. The store is not much to look at from the outside, but its wares are available at both retail and wholesale prices. The salesgirls are sweet and helpful, and the jewelry is fashionable, colorful, and varied. Bracelets, earrings, and necklaces retail from $5 to $20, and the store also carries a decent selection of low-slung, big-buckle belts and snappy handbags. For even better bargains, bring a group of girlfriends and buy in bulk.
Franz Kafka was so sickly and miserable that he whiled away half his life in sanatoriums and wrote volumes about man's alienation in a grotesque, unintelligible, and hostile world. A visit to his funky South Beach namesake (open 7:30 a.m. to midnight) might have improved his humor. After all, its gracious staff and low-key atmosphere are enough to put even the most anxiety-ridden existentialist at ease. The pleasant vibe is thanks, in part, to the benevolent Deamici family, which owns and operates the business. Some member of the clan is usually around to lend customers a hand or, if needed, a sympathetic ear. Kafka Café also offers fast Internet access for just $4 per hour -- far cheaper than its South Beach competitors. And it has dozens of magazines you won't find elsewhere. Looking for the latest issue of Action Pursuit Games, the paintball enthusiasts' rag? Kafka has it, along with Feminist News Journal, Fly Tyer, and Concrete Wave. It also sells French, Italian, Arabic, and Spanish newspapers and cheaper-than-cheap used books. Hardcovers run just $3, softbacks a paltry buck. There's no discernible order to the shelving; The Ann Landers Encyclopedia sits cheek and jowl with Ice Hockey Made Simple and A Nietzsche Reader. So be prepared to do some trolling. But your effort will almost certainly be rewarded. And once you're done hunting, you can kick back on a sofa, enjoy some treats (think Nutella crpes, fruit smoothies, crisp salads, and espresso drinks). Or, better yet, take in some deliciously quirky art, like the armless, chartreuse-and-indigo mannequin that dangles from the ceiling.
Someday soon Internet access will be as free and universal as television or radio today. For Miami Beach that future is now. Following a national trend of city-provided wireless service, the Beach will install its much-anticipated network over the next few months. The service will be free to anyone with a wireless-ready computer system, and is expected to cover almost every neighborhood within city limits. Free wi-fi makes economic sense as a draw to visitors, and it is welcome competition for residents; however, its true value may be revealed only after the next hurricane. Following Wilma, disconnected residents searched all over town for a place to blog about the storm.
Ideally a tea shop should be like the beverage itself: inviting, soothing, and worth leisurely enjoyment in balmy afternoon hours. Tasty enough to share with your girlfriends, sweet enough to share with your mother. Théine captures that vibe to a tee, so to speak. Tucked away on a quiet Coral Gables street, the welcoming nook serves up delectable gourmet lunch and a truly noteworthy three-course tea service. Replete with dainty biscuits, cakes, scones, sandwiches, and tarts made by down-to-earth tea maven and store owner Kyra White, the extravaganza is well worth $25. When the soft-spoken waiter presents you with a handsomely bound menu of teas and tisanes, you'll feel like English royalty. Jasmine Pearl, Margaret's Hope, Mexican Chai, and Indian Darjeeling -- the perfectly steeped brew needs no taint of sugar or stain of cream, as the proprietress would recommend. But because she's an excellent hostess, bowls of adorable sugar cubes and a crystal decanter of milk sit daintily on each table.
If you prefer Fendi handbags but will accept the more budget-friendly "Fendi-inspired" variety, Mr. Pocketbook has your purse. Its flagship store in Miami's scrappy Fashion District (2850 NW Fifth Ave.) is a windowless cement block, but inside is a world of evening bags, wallets, totes, coin purses, satchels, and luggage. A sleek sequined shoulder bag retails for as little as $12 -- cheaper if you're buying wholesale -- and even the most flamboyant of shoppers will find a purse to her liking. Feathers? Buttons? Neon colors? Mr. Pocketbook has it all.
Drive down Miracle Mile and you'll begin to notice a subtle pattern. There's David's Bridal (39 Miracle Mile), Bridal City (326 Miracle Mile), and Coral Gables Bridal (141 Miracle Mile). There's Chic Parisien (118 Miracle Mile) -- specializing in, yes, bridal. Miracle Mile really should be renamed the Get Hitched Three-Quarter; all told, there are close to ten shops specializing in wares for the big day -- or days, if you're a multiple mater. (Plus the jewelry stories specializing in engagement rings.) So if you're about to tie the knot for the first, second, or fourth time and you need to bedeck bridesmaids or find a frock for a flower girl, there is no better place in Miami-Dade, or possibly the planet, than the Gables. And best yet, when all of your sartorial needs are met, you can take care of the icing on the cake, literally. Head to the Wedding Cake Gallery, conveniently located at 30 Miracle Mile.
The mind says Marc Jacobs sun dress, and the wallet says Target sweatpants. Mom called it "Champagne taste on a beer budget," but only those who have the malady know just how much it sucks. The afflicted are a persistent bunch, however. They will have their pretty clothes, and they will have them cheaply. Maruchi may not have chandeliers or a pianist on Saturdays, but brands like BCBG, DKNY, Juicy Couture, Esprit, and more can be found at reasonable prices. Name-brand jeans and bikinis for $30, dresses and shoes sometimes 60 percent cheaper than they should be. Maruchi is the mecca.
If you thought discreetly buying condoms was hard (no pun intended), try the checkout with a twelve-inch, double-ended, glow-in-the-dark dildo. Now that takes balls. All joking aside, we understand this sex-toy-buying business can be somewhat nerve-racking, which is why Déjá Vu Love Boutique gets our vote. Yes, the shop stocks the more traditional items such as Kamasutra lotions, candles, and skimpy lingerie, as well as toys from the Phallix collection, porn-star approved gadgets, and lower-price devices that keep your pocket (and other parts) happy. But it's the reassuring notion that a dirty old man is unlikely lurking in a corner of this well-lit shop that makes it a fave among the female clientele. In addition, rest assured that prices are competitive and shelves always well stocked with the latest, greatest, fastest, and strongest devices around. What's more, the staff is always friendly, unobtrusive, and polite. And they've got you covered if you fear even entering the store; this is 2006, so you can simply order your private products online.
South Beach Tattoo Company
When it comes to tattoos, there are two kinds of people: the mousy and the masochistic. The former usually squirm with fear and nausea when they hear the low hum of the ink gun as it nears their flesh. On the opposite end of the tolerance spectrum are the pain enthusiasts who seem almost elevated with euphoria as the needle pierces their skin a hundred times a second. The approach to being tattooed isn't the only point of contention among body-art fans. Quality and taste are often sensitive topics. Just the mention of South Beach and tattoos in the same sentence elicits eye-rolls from some elitists as they conjure up images of butterflies and tribal patterns. But there is one sanctuary where the two words don't produce a cringe from aficionados. Whether you have a sleeve or virgin skin, barb-wire biceps or sparrow-adorned hips, South Beach Tattoo Company can give you quality work. Ken Cameron and his inked buddies have an impressive repertoire that includes portraits and traditional, new-school, and Japanese styles. From Mark Ryden's Rose painting to decapitated Frankenstein's monster heads to fiery dragons, all works include vibrant colors, exact lines, and quality workmanship. First-timers need not worry about condescending retorts to their naive questions: The staff at South Beach Tattoo Company is not only talented but also pretty nice.
New Age Body Piercing
Take a deep breath. Slowly let it out. Crunch! Oh, yes. The thrill of the pierce -- that pain followed by an exhilarating endorphin rush -- is as exciting as the sparkly new ornament now dangling from your body. While most piercing places are really tattoo shops with a sideline, at New Age you don't have to hear that annoying buzz while you're waiting to add a little bling to your nostril, belly button, or tongue -- the most common piercings Luis has seen at the shop he's been poking around the past five years. "But people are starting to get more into cartilage," he adds. The shop was remodeled a few years ago, and it now glistens with glass cabinets and a counter filled with shiny, shiny rings and barbells. The soothing green color scheme is classy, and the tile floors are clean. "It's a little more inviting and clinical," says Luis. There's a sofa and television for chillin', and a case of scary medical tools to peruse while you're trying to keep your mind off that big needle that will soon be going through your tragus. But don't worry -- Luis has a gentle touch, and he's the sweetest and most charming piercer we've ever met. Tempted but not sure what you want to get done? The Website has photos that show almost everything -- including graphic images of impaled genitalia. Basic piercing ranges from $45 to $55, including starter jewelry and detailed care instructions. Luis will remind you to come back to have your piercing checked a few times. He cares about the hole he's put in your body.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®