Tattoos by Lou
Karli Evans

For some, getting a body piercing is a rite of passage. For others, it's a declaration of independence and individuality. And for the rest of us, it's just effing cool. Whether you want an additional hole in your ear or nose, the mom-taunting tongue stud, or something more intimate, Tattoos by Lou is the place to get it done. Piercings are performed in individual rooms for utmost privacy, and prices are beyond reasonable. Want a hole above the belt? It's $50, depending on the jewelry. Below the belt? Around $100. So next time you're in the mood to do something to shake things up, head to Lou's and get some new holes.

In Miami, our spirits need regular cleansing the way car windows need a good scrubbing every winter in the Midwest. Down here, it's not dirty snow mucking up the windshield; it's our sin-soaked beaches of bare flesh and shady people polluting our souls. So think of Five Sisters as the drive-thru car wash for your spiritual well-being. With eight spiritual healers on call to give you insight and clarity, Five Sisters isn't the kind of dingy storefront that comes to mind when you hear the word psychic. Inside a strip mall a few blocks off South Dixie Highway in East Kendall, the comfortable shop offers services from astrologers, mediums, and tarot card readers, as well as consciousness channeling, lightwave therapy, and everything in between. Prices range from $30 to $55 per half-hour to $90 an hour depending upon the service. In addition to the daily offerings, Five Sisters also hosts a plethora of semiregular events such as past-life regression sessions, ascension therapy, and chakra replenishing. There are even weekly yoga classes for only $10, so you can clear your mind, spirit, and body.

It's about time you got right with the gods, papa. Calamities are no laughing matter, and it seems like tu suerte is just getting worse. You require help from on high, and you'll need to be properly equipped if you want to get in touch with Changó, Obatala, and the rest of the pantheon of orishas whose help you so desperately seek. Open for 25 years, Almacen de Botanica Monzon Bros. II looks more like a warehouse of Yoruba goods than a simple shop. The immense store carries everything from santeros' scimitars and horse-hair fly-whisks ($45 each) to six-foot-tall Indian chiefs ($850) and faux human skulls ($25) to keep the spirits in check. And if you want to make elekes (bead collars) to keep the orishas in your corner and around your neck, you'll have no trouble, because Monzon Bros. II appears to have every size, shape, and color bead conceivably necessary to wrap yourself in good vibras. Better hurry up — El Viejo San Lazaro is always waiting at the door, and somehow he looks like he's expecting you.

Luca Castaldo easily commands a room. The Italian hairstylist has been a staple in Miami since 2005, when he began working at Contesta Rock Hair, an Italian salon chain with an outpost on Española Way. Even in a small salon full of big personalities, he still stole the show with a loyal clientele who would wait for hours, if needed, until his chair opened up. So it only makes sense that Luca would take that magnetic persona and go into business for himself. In 2012, he opened Bleach Hair Addiction in the Shops at Midtown. Unlike his last perch on Española Way, parking here isn't a problem for Castaldo's loyal customers. We've all encountered our fair share of snooty salon employees, but you won't find them at Bleach, where the staff is friendly and ready to offer complimentary wine, beer, or water. This isn't Supercuts, so expect to pay a price for a quality cut, starting at $40 for men and $50 for women. Prices jump from there, but rest assured the cost is worth it. Don't trust just anybody with your hair. Trust Luca.

(Sung to the tune of "Valleri" by the Monkees.)

There's a girl I know who makes me look so good.

And I wouldn't live without her, even if I could.

Just call on Valerie (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays).

You'll love that Valerie.

[Instrumental, during which you whip your newly perfected hair back and forth.]

She'll color, cut, condition you with treatments galore.

She'll have you looking better than you ever did before.

Just call up Valerie (and make an appointment)!

You'll love that Valerie.

Peter of London's Kendall location is a fabulous full-service salon (including nails, facials, and waxing) in its own right, but one of its real treasures is hairstylist Valerie Paquet. Her warmth, smile, and devotion to great work make you feel like you and she are a dynamic duo with the common goal of making your hair your crowning glory. She's also not one to shy away from a challenge: Along with having a grip on the latest trends, she's also been known to experiment with cosplay-grade hairpieces that can go from convention to club outing. Whether you're looking to straighten, color, cut, or sculpt your coif, you'll be singing Paquet's praises when she's done.

There are a few problems that can ruin even the most swag confidence. Deodorant all over your shirt. Coffee spilled on your pants. And — shudder — raggedy nails. Don't let your digits deteriorate, ladies. Head to Nail Time for a quick, affordable manicure. Whether you're in the market for a subtle French job or psychedelic patterned talons, Nail Time's artisan technicians will have your hands looking flossy for your sister's wedding, the hubby's annual company fundraiser, or Junior's little-league soccer championship game. Manicures start at just $12, and you can get your hands and feet done for $30 ($35 for hubby). Add five bucks if you'd like a French mani, and while you're at it, spend an extra $10 to get your eyebrows waxed. You can schedule an appointment, but Nail Time accepts walk-ins and will have you out within 30 minutes.

Hey, pal: Between that hornets' nest on your head and that follicle explosion on your chin, you look like you're gonna come up on the wrong side of this week's "Homeless or Hipster" game. You need a haircut, son. Luckily, Upper Kutz Barbershop is in the neighborhood. Conveniently located in midtown, Upper Kutz's vintage-inspired parlor offers cuts on the cheap, starting at $18, and a whole range of other hygienic rescues, including tapes for $8, hot shaves for $30, and blowouts for $18. Owner Ray Agnew, a cosmetologist with more than 15 years of experience under his belt, stocks UK with a friendly, knowledgeable staff. Trust us, that Chewbacca look is clichéd. Shape it up at Upper Kutz.

What if the best place to get beautiful just happened to be one of the most beautiful spots in town? That's exactly the case with Muse Beauty Suite, a 500-square-foot space on the second floor of the Sagamore Hotel with a sweeping vista of the Atlantic Ocean. The latest venture of local entrepreneur Sabrina Badeaux Linden overlooks the pool and the beach, offering views that refresh the spirit while the experts go to work on your face. You can start with the signature Muse facial, which involves steam cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, massage, and a soothing finishing mask for a hundred bucks. For five dollars less, you can do the seaweed facial, which includes steam cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, and a fresh seaweed mask. Or go all out with a $130 Repêchage four-layer facial. Whichever you choose, your natural beauty will be revealed as vibrantly as the scenery outside.

Sam Gershenbaum, D.O., P.A.

Need a new nose? Better boobs? Bigger booty? "If you're looking to take your body to the next level with surgical mastery," the Aventura Center for Cosmetic Surgery advises, "Dr. G can get you there!" Born in New Jersey, educated at the University of Miami, and doctored up at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sam Gershenbaum is a self-described perfectionist whose workweeks are chockablock with rhinoplasties, breast augmentations (AKA BAMs), and Brazilian butt lifts — not to mention Miami's more niche procedures like calf implants, fat grafts, and labiaplasties. And yes, he's also dabbled in reality TV and given away boob jobs at South Beach megaclubs while amassing a fine collection of SUVs and speedboats. But Doc Gershenbaum isn't in the plastic surgery game just for the fame and fortune. Every time he takes his scalpel to patients like Playboy centerfold Kimberly Holland, Tami "Miss Maxim 2006" Donaldson, and hall-of-fame bodybuilder Richard Gaspari, it's because he wants to make this world a more beautiful place. "My work is about empowerment," Dr. G once philosophized in a letter to Haute Living magazine. "I don't just want my patients to look better; I want them to be all they can be."

This place has it all: gargoyles, a haunted floor, and a room where a mobster murder allegedly took place. The enormous pool plays host to rows of beautiful Roman-style statues of women who look like the Venus herself. Access to the fitness center for those who have not booked a room costs $35 for the day, starting at 5 a.m. and continuing into the night. It includes access to the gym, sauna, showers, and lockers. More than 100 weddings are curated by the staff of the hotel every year. A stroll through the halls often yields at least one blushing bride posing for her bridal shoot. Some of the best-kept secrets of the legendary hotel are private poolside cabanas, finch cages scattered throughout the main lobby, a culinary academy, great mojitos, and high tea time, which is held during two seatings each day for the bargain price of $25. To truly capture the essence of the timeless establishment would take far more than a couple of hundred words. It is everything you don't expect from Miami but should.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®