Ricky's NYC
What's better than a shop where you can buy purple wigs and feathered fake eyelashes? Well, a shop where you can buy purple wigs, feathered fake eyelashes, and anal beads, of course! Ricky's NYC stocks lots of hard-to-find hair products, novelty items, and cosmetics on its main floor. You can bring your grandmother and let her get lost in the selection of gray-covering hair dyes. Meanwhile, sneak up to the secret second floor and slip through the glittery curtain, you devilish sex fiend! There you will find dildos, vibrators, sex games, cock rings, edible underwear, flavored lube, and many other great items to shove into your orifices. The only trick now is to zip back down and check out before Granny waddles up behind you at the counter. "Sonny, what are you buying? That balloon is shaped like a lady!" Awkward!
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa
Imagine our surprise when we discovered our "ultimate facial" began at our feet. Oh, yeah. We were escorted out to a sun-soaked balcony, treated to a cup of tea, and asked to plant our tootsies in a warm tub where — get this — the therapist got down on her knees and scrubbed us toe-to-knee and then rinsed our legs with water from a pitcher. Already relaxed, we were led inside, where we reclined on a soft, heated bed as our new best friend massaged our face with what seemed like a hundred delicious potions, including a caviar-based product and a sheet of marine proteins. The most wonderful part: none of those painful extractions that make us break out the next day. After some of the creams were smoothed on, we were treated to a foot massage and warming booties while our hands were doted on next. The whole experience lasted a blissful 90 minutes, and we'd gladly take 90 more.
Blush Nail Lounge & Boutique
The act of eyebrow threading is an odd and ancient one. First you choose the color thread — gold, magenta, white (Vogue claims fluorescent green and nude are all the rage this season) — and hand it to your threading technician, who, while you were making your color selection, was purifying a large needle for this holy act by chanting in Sanskrit, doing ballet squats, and wearing a shredded snakeskin braided with a banana peel on top of her head. After the tech has gotten the green light from Fabricala — the Goddess of Fabric — she shaves off your natural eyebrows, takes the purified threading needle, jams it into your forehead, and weaves you new brows. OK, not really, but taking a piece of thread, sticking the middle of it into the mouth, and weaving the rest of the thread through the fingers to create a triangle that plucks multiple hairs from the brow makes some people's imaginations run wild. Popular among Arabic cultures, the process takes a little longer than waxing, but the results are much more precise and there's no risk of burning, scarring, or hyperpigmentation. Blush Nail Lounge & Boutique — a girly, 1920s-inspired SoBe salon — does your face right for just $30 (that's 15 bucks a brow!). Take a seat at the back of the shop, close your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, and open them to natural-looking, well-groomed eyebrows that complement the shape of your face. Just make sure to show your gratitude by tipping your threader — and leaving a banana peel for Fabricala.
Control Salon
That ruffled, I'm-too-busy-creating-art-to-care-about-my-hair look is harder to maintain than you think. And that bleached-out, blunt-edge cut that peeks out from a wide-brimmed fedora takes more than one drunken night ending with broken scissors, empty Clorox bottles, and a hairy bathroom floor. A more likely explanation for such a do is the small, spartan shop tucked between a graffiti mural and Jamaican patty shop where stylists live second lives as professional skateboarders, musicians, Back Door Bamby burlesque dancers, and illustrators. The shop itself is a double agent: During the day, it's a state-of-the-art, pristine salon stocked with Sebastian products and color treatments. At night, it turns into a "saloon," hosting art parties that often feature open bars, live painting, and local DJs. You'll want to show up incognito yourself — sporting nighttime sunglasses, a mysterious trench coat, and, most important, a fresh new cut.
You work for a global mail-carrying corporation, which means you wear brown short-shorts eight hours a day, you earn just below the national average income, and you didn't get a Christmas bonus last year. Don't ask how we know — that's not the point. This is: Despite the pedestrian nature of your life, you can still get your hair cut like a multimillionaire athlete. Hugo Tandron, founder of Headz Up Barbershop, is the official barber for the Florida Marlins. The Mr. T-bearded, heavily tattooed, reformed ex-con, who sets up a makeshift parlor adjacent to the Marlins' locker-room and has cut hair in at least eight Major League stadiums, is almost certainly the only official barber in the bigs. He has coiffed the likes of Gary Sheffield, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson, Carlos Beltran, Carl Crawford, Miguel Cabrera, Johan Santana — you name the superstar, and he has most likely taken clippers to the guy's head. Dontrelle Willis once gave him a tricked-out vintage Chevy, and Brad Penny wrote Tandron an $850 check to travel to the Marlins' Jupiter spring-training facility to trim his beard. There's a reason players who can afford any fancy-schmancy stylist choose Tandron: He's a master of clean and sharp customized haircuts — the kind of work that adds a little pimp-walk to your gait when you glance in the mirror or face an opposing pitcher. Despite his A-list clientele, Tandron still charges a pittance — $15 — when he cuts regular guys' hair.
Tropicana Flea Market
Every great flea market should have the following three things: incredibly low-priced produce, quirky vintage knickknacks, and delicious Colombian hot dogs. Tropicana Flea Market delivers on all fronts. Open Friday through Sunday from 7 to 7, el pulgero on NW 36th Street is an indoor/outdoor bazaar with more than 200 booths selling everything from $1 lettuce heads to discounted 600-thread-count bed sets. Need tires? No problem. A new bedroom set? Check. What about a pet hamster? Hell, yes! And most excellent of all, everything is mad-cheap 'cause it's a flea market. Then after you're done shopping, treat yourself to a Mimi's Perros Colombian-style hot dog and a can of Ironbeer.
Rio Pet Grooming
There's nothing sleazier than a crappy dog-boarding place. You walk in and you're hit with the overwhelming twin scents of canine halitosis and petrified feces. All the dogs are behind bars and loudly acting crazed, like cast members in some Milo & Otis version of Oz. By the same token, screw the dog B&Bs — those ridiculous chateaus where the canines lie on miniature human beds, the caretakers dress in faux-tuxedos, and TV sets play Lassie or some such pandering idiocy. Dogs just want to be comfortable and fed. Their owners just want them to be safe. Any additional frills are irrelevant to the former party and wallet-draining to the latter. At Rio Pet Grooming, the dogs mingle during the day and sleep in comfortable cubicles — not cages — at night. They're filmed 24 hours a day, so the storeowner can watch them even when she's at home. Boarding costs $25 a night for small dogs and $30 to $40 for larger pups. And when you're back in town, some traumatizing experience won't have transformed your beloved mutt into a mouth-frothing Kujo.
Since launching in 2009, Miami Beach's free public Wi-Fi has taken some heat. Perhaps expectations were too high. The service was never meant to replace reliable home Internet service for every Beach resident, but when you're in a pinch and need to check your email on your laptop or download a new book on your Kindle, it does its duty. Sure, there are still kinks and limitations, but it's pretty easy to get a connection when you're sitting at an outdoor café or under a palm tree. Most of all, it's a step in the right direction — one we hope other Miami-Dade municipalities eventually follow.
Those of us who love the printed word are under attack. Tech companies come out with new and improved e-readers and tablets every month, while the magazine rack seems to shrink at the market, and even big-box bookstores are beginning to disappear. Getting our hands on those sweet, glossy pages has become more difficult than ever. Luckily, a few old-fashioned newsstands still dot the landscape. The grimy, bodega-like aesthetics of Mindy's News & Gift Shop certainly don't match the pretty looks of an iPad, but the selection here is unmatched. Where else in town can you pick up multiple magazines about niche topics such as pro biking and collector's toys while flipping through relevant editions of nearly every regional Vogue? Not only does Mindy's carry a wide selection of new mags, but also employees usually leave leftover copies of previous editions on the shelves, which is good news for those of us who forgot to pick up a copy of The New Yorker last week. We don't know how long it will be before digital issues made for tablet computers totally replace printed publications, but we'll treasure old-school newsstands such as Mindy's as long as they're around.
WD 555
More than 400 bottles of wine line the aisles and back walls of Philippe Buchbinder and Jean-Luc Oizan Chapon's Miami Beach wine warehouse. The industrial-like space has a pleasant ambiance and houses not only a wine store but also a wine bar and bistro, making it a cool spot to either pick up a bottle to go or enjoy it right there at the U-shaped bar or outdoor bistro. The corkage fee is a modest $7.50, and the bottles — which cover the globe, from France to the States to Chile — mostly range in price from $10 to $30. A knowledgeable staff does a fine job helping you sort through the selection, even when you dash in not knowing exactly what you want. For special occasions, a glass-enclosed cellar houses pricier wine and champagne bottles starting at $35, with a $15 corkage.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®