The scene opens on a woman alone in a coffee shop. She sips slowly. Her face is concealed with sunglasses, and her hair is hidden in one of those hipster beanies. She's waiting for someone. Finally, another woman sits across from her.

Nervous coffee drinker: "Cassie, what are you doing here? I thought we agreed to meet in secret later today."

Cassie: "Chill, Lexi, you're the one who decided to come drink coffee where I work."

Lexi: [cursing] "Fine. Let's get this over with."

Cassie: "Well, you're going to have to show me first."

Lexi: "Here?" [shocked and disgusted] "But people will see!"

Cassie: "You're going to have to deal with it eventually. It can't be that bad. You're a serial exaggerator. I'm sure it looks cute."

[Lexi gives Cassie a searing look that can only be compared to the fire of a thousand suns.]

Lexi: "I've been wearing this stupid hat for the past month to cover up my hideous haircut! Britney circa 2007 looked better than me!"

[Lexi cautiously lifts one hand to her head, and as she pulls off the beanie, she hunches her shoulders to try to hide her shame. Cassie bursts into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Lexi is not pleased].

Cassie: [wiping tears from her cheeks] "Like I said, it's not that bad! Nat will definitely be able to make you fabulous again. Trust me."

[A stranger walks by and addresses Cassie.]

Stranger: "Oh my God, who cuts your hair? The way it shines and bounces — and those layers! Oh my God, is that your natural color, or did you get an ombre?"

Cassie: [glowing] "Nat cuts my hair. I've been going to her for years, and she's the only one I trust to touch my head."

Stranger: [looks at Lexi] "Oh, honey, you should really put that hat back on." [looks back at Cassie] "Thanks for the tip, sugar!" [walks away]

[Cassie slides a card over the table to Lexi.]

Cassie: "I already made an appointment for you. You're in the best hands; she's been doing this for more than seven years. Plus, look at my hair — she has the hands of a hairdressing goddess. And she starts at only $55 for a cut and blow dry, which you know is cheap for girls like us with thick hair."

Lexi: [grudgingly taking the card] "Thanks, Cass. I don't know what I would do without you."

Cassie: "Probably keep wearing hats in the middle of the summer."

In a city where 80 percent humidity can transform the perfect coif into a Sideshow Bob 'do in seconds, having a master stylist on speed dial is a must. Sam is the man. The refreshingly candid coiffeur is the one-man hairdo dynamo behind Johari, a quaint, shaded cottage that channels the old Grove. Tucked away on a side street beneath hanging vines and lush flora, it's the opposite of chain-choked CocoWalk, though it's only a stone's throw away. The cozy spot has been in Sam's fam since 1970. And in a neighborhood where countless salons have come and gone, Johari persists. Its longevity is thanks to Sam's mindset. He's all about making you look good, not milking you for the big bucks (haircuts range from $60 to $80). Trust him. Do as he says. Don't cling to your fried ends and bad dye job. Put your faith in his scissor skills, and he'll leave your locks looking their very best.

Once upon a time at an unnamed shop inside a suburban Central Florida mall, a hatchet job was performed on a girl who wanted nothing more than pierced ears. The inexperienced piercer kept making the holes uneven, and eventually the girl had about six punctures dotting her lobes. Blood stained Cinnabon's floors, and the girl's face looked as if she'd just finished watching Beaches on some cable channel that airs only Sarah McLachlan's SPCA ad during commercial breaks. It was a horrible sight, but a teachable moment: If you want someone to stick needles into your body, go to a professional, not a teenager looking for extra cash between babysitting gigs. Check out Balinese Tattoo Miami, a professional parlor that started in Venezuela and now occupies a Flagami shop that's decorated like an edgy spa. Its employees are happy to help you in your quest to affix shiny objects to your skin. Of course you can go with a standard ear piercing, but if you're looking for something a little more complicated (like microdermal or even apadravya), they can make it happen.

Del Toro
Photo by Shelly Davidov

There are a few areas of human achievement that Italians have on lockdown. Pasta. Chianti. Dysfunctional democracy. And shoes. Any doubts that the last category belongs to the Italians will be banished with a quick trip to Del Toro, a Wynwood-based boutique that focuses on bespoke footwear from the land of Berlusconi. The experts keep samples of the tasteful, edgy, comfortable, and unique in a wide variety of sizes and styles for women and men. Though the bulk of their catalogue is available online, you can check out the boutique in person any day of the week and complete your look with belts, bags, socks, wallets, hats, timepieces, and more. Be prepared to shell out some cash — snagging the best in human shoe achievement can cost you anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands. We're not talking Chuck Taylors here. Think Alto Chukka sneakers made with ostrich skin for $1,000, or Shayan Afshar white leather kicks with ten-karat gold stars for two G's. If that's too rich for your blood, keep an eye out for fire sales that knock some straight-from-Italy high fashion to as low as $25.

Miami is a city that lives and dies by trends. Luckily, shops such as Soles Inc. make living in the heart of trendy nation great. From exclusive action figures to superbly fresh snapbacks, this place has its finger on the pulse of what's cool, so its inventory is constantly showcasing something new. Though the clothing and accessories certainly represent their fair share of what draws people into Soles Inc., it's the kicks on the walls that set this place apart. The assortment of sneakers ranges from the newest fad to the most rarefied re-released Jordans, and with new shoes dropping on the regular, you can be assured they're selling out just as fast and frequently as they hit the shelves. Whether you're looking for some serious throwbacks, like the 20th-anniversary Adidas Mutumbos ($105), or something just as classic but slightly more understated, like the Air Jordan 1 Mid Nouveaus in a suede Night Shadow Colorway ($134.98), Soles Inc. and its exceptionally keen staff will get you laced up in the perfect gear to keep your kick game on point.

Once upon a time, there was a bit of land with a tiny lake and a fountain surrounded by shops meant to sell things. Archival records indicate such places were commonly referred to as "malls." This mall in particular was once plainly named Town & Country, but as the years passed — though they were kind to Town & Country — buildings went up and others came down. Now, under a new name, the Palms at Town & Country, this pleasant establishment has been transformed into quite the location. With a bevy of shopping, dining, and even nightlife options, "T&C is the place to be," as the young ones put it. In addition to stores such as Nordstrom Rack and Kohl's, Total Wine recently opened, and there's even a Publix. There are popular hangout spots for the kiddies, a World of Beer for cerveza fiends, sports on the tube galore at Cadillac Ranch, and ladies'-night chain Blue Martini as well. The Palms has everything and more than you could ever want in a shopping experience. Just don't call it a "mall."

Unroll the map. Maybe it floated ashore in a cloudy glass bottle or was buried in a rotting chest on a deserted beach. Follow the directions, even if the remote locale seems dubious: northeast of the Northside Metrorail station, just east of the Hialeah city limits, just off NW 79th Street. It's the last place most would search for buried treasure. But the riches inside Northside Shopping Centre (formerly known as the Village Flea Market) are varied and seemingly endless. Want your hair styled in dreads or weaves at the salon? On the hunt for that perfect $4 rhinestone chain? Northside has you covered. Headless mannequins, tattered American flags, bootleg Venezuelan DVDs, faux-Armani jeans, rows of stalls grilling arepas and Dominican delicacies — it's all inside. X marks the spot — there be treasure here!

Everything about Conch Hill Market is vintage, even the building. It's located on the former site of Casa Capó Muebles, the first furniture boutique opened by the Capó family in Miami in the '60s, prior to the grand opening of giant El Dorado Furniture. The same white, red, and blue marquee that once illuminated the way for those in search of bedposts and dining tables welcomes hoarders to this antiques gem. Inside, Remington typewriters, Pentak cameras, 1936 barstools, and 1944 Lady Carlyle ceramic teacups fill the 12,000-square-foot shop. Sandwiched somewhere between an AMI jukebox and pinball machine are ties and Tonka toy cars dating back to the 1950s, old spectacles and smoke pipes, and even a pair of Saks Fifth Avenue diamond-studded emerald shoes your grandmother used to wear. As you browse through thousands of years of items, you'll also stumble upon more recent, priceless finds, such as an 'N Sync-era Justin Timberlake plush bear and a male surfer mannequin holding a pig doll.

With everyone suddenly priced out of Edgewater — thank you, Florida housing bubble! — the new hipster neighborhood ripe for gentrification is Miami's Upper Eastside, made up of Belle Meade, Bayside, Morningside, Shorecrest, and Bay Point to the east of Biscayne Boulevard, and Lemon City, Little Haiti, Buena Vista, and Little River to the west. Older apartment buildings are still renting at reasonable prices, and fixer-upper homes are still a bargain if you're willing to put in the work. Once you move into the neighborhood, you'll need new furniture. Luckily, KMP Furniture has been serving those suddenly hopping neighborhoods for several years. KMP is by no means IKEA-cheap, but items come in a wide variety of prices — from a $995 Amondo dining table to a chic Bernard armchair for $765 — and anyway, it's time to grow up and stop buying furniture made of particle board. What's more, some pieces (such as beds and sofas) can be customized. Simply visit the showroom or shop online and finally get rid of that designed-in-Sweden/made-in-China decor.

Las Tias

As you stroll through vintage designer furniture and clothes, imagining yourself smack in the middle of the 1940s, maybe starring in some noir adventure alongside Humphrey Bogart, suddenly you're wrenched back to the present: Little Dragon is thumping on the radio. You're not in war years, and you're not even in a normal consignment shop. You're at Las Tias, an upscale resale store in Coconut Grove. Las Tias recently moved to the Grove from Wynwood, but it retains the scruffy charm more typical of Miami's arts hood. The shop was started as a furniture storage site for Esther Percal's high-end real estate clients, and when there was no more space to hold the furniture, she had a sale. The rest, as they say, is history. In the front of the shop, you are greeted by an array of vintage and modern furniture. An Eileen Gray Monte Carlo sofa, normally priced around $9,300, goes for about $5,500 at Las Tias. A collection of ceramic pottery, paintings, light fixtures, and dining sets leads you to the back of the store, where you will find handpicked costume jewelry, coin purses, and apparel that would make even Daisy Buchanan jealous. Instead of investing in a $4 shoulder-padded polyester sequined '80s blazer at your local Goodwill, put on your trench coat, channel your best Bogie, and stop at Las Tias for some quality vintage.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®