Long gone are the days of sharply dressed men topped in carefully crafted fedoras. Women no longer don flowing gowns and little ornamental hats full of jewels and feathers and filigree pinned over tightly wrapped buns. And though now it might seem like there's nothing to put on your pate but beanies and basketball snapbacks, there is a place in North Miami Beach that still offers a bit of the style and glamour found in the headdresses of yesteryear. Hats & Hats is a one-of-a-kind establishment in Miami that's been selling, shaping, and maintaining hats for more than 15 years. It's the only spot in town to go to if you're looking for some of that classy character of the good old days, that Indiana Jones swagger, or the understated, undeniable grace that Faye Dunaway and Holly Golightly exuded from hat to heel. Even if you're uncertain about buying the fine headwear at Hats & Hats, it's an interesting place to wander into. The scent of felt and silk waft through the shop, and the walls full of hats — classic and brand-new all at once — can be a pleasantly overwhelming trip to a world gone by.

They say it's the thought that counts, and yes, everyone appreciates a thoughtful gift that shows how much you care for a loved one, family member, or friend. But when it comes time to really impress that special someone — or maybe just to prove to your parents that you can — you gotta break out the big bucks. We're talking the blindingly shiny eye candy. Maurice's Jewelers is there to make that important purchase as flawless as its finest diamonds. Kind and knowledgeable employees are always happy to help, and prices are not set in stone, with up to 40 percent off retail often lopped off right away, which makes that perfectly cut, crystal-clear gemstone bracelet, necklace, or engagement ring look more attractive already. Maurice's also provides resizing, extending, and repair services in-house. Looking for something with character? Custom orders can personalize jewelry such as one of those popular Pandora charm bracelets. Whatever the occasion, Maurice's delivers the wow factor.

So he (or she) finally got down on one knee and popped the question. You're getting married. Let that sink in for a moment as the classic Spice Girls anthem plays in your head and you sing along to "2 Become 1." Now that the euphoric moment is over, reality sets in and it's time to start a Google doc and get to business. Arguably, the most important aspect of your big day (aside from your future spouse, duh) is the dress. There are plenty of reality shows dedicated to it — Say Yes to the Dress, I Found the Gown, and old classic Bridezillas — and plenty more dress shops that stock only the white frock. Many of those shops have fancy designer names attached to them, so naturally they sell only their designs. One of the greatest things about Ever After in Coconut Grove is that it carries multiple designers, so you're not limited to the tastes of just one snooty designer but rather lots of snooty fashionistas. That was the plan from day one for founder Camille Russler, who opened the shop in 2002 after her own wedding shopping convinced her that Miami needed a modern boutique with a diverse selection. With names such as Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Lanvin, and J. Mendel at their fingertips, brides-to-be are bound to find the fairy-tale gown of their dreams at Ever After. Plus, the shop hosts designer trunk shows every month to highlight new collections that will get bridal juices pumping.

Nevot Flower Designs
Photo by Carolina del Busto

Whether it's a wedding, baby shower, baptism, party, or corporate event, ask a simple question: What always seems to make the essential must-buy list? The answer is flowers, and the reason is because that bit of Mother Nature has the power to charm any situation. But big-deal events call for entrusting a professional to arrange the flora delicately. That's where Jorge Nevot from Nevot Flower Designs needs to come into your life. Nevot has been in the flower business for more than 20 years, and his customer service, along with his skillful hands, will likely keep him in the trade for at least another 20. The florist meets with his clients to create arrangements perfectly suited for their affairs, and prices vary widely depending upon what's desired. But in our experience with a wedding package, his price came in far below those of competitors. Any doubts about his skills should disappear after you step into his tiny storefront and check out the photos of his work; if not, sit down for a conversation and you'll experience firsthand Nevot's expertise. Y claro que si se habla español.

Ever since she was a little girl in the Dominican Republic, Maria Oliveira only wanted to heal animals and be a mother. So when she was diagnosed with Stage 3B breast cancer in 2007 and doctors explained her chances of survival were slim, she accepted that her life was complete. But that didn't mean she gave up. Instead, she went to work every day to treat the animals she'd come to care so desperately about. "In a weird way I think it healed me," Oliveira says. Although she wouldn't advise anyone — man or his four-legged best friend — to abandon chemotherapy for a petting zoo, Oliveira thinks there is something inherently therapeutic in caring for animals. She's been in remission since 2008 and is, as always, working full time in the clinic she opened back in 2001. Oliveira vaccinates, microchips, conducts surgeries, and advises owners on preventive care for their pets in her South Miami clinic. When she's not working, you can find her at home caring for her two daughters, two dogs, and four cats.

Natural K9
Courtesy of Natural K9 Supplies

Miamians have gone all in with juicing, cleansing, and organic everything, from toothpaste to body wash. So why do so many Magic City pet owners still tromp through the big chain pet stores, where garish cat and dog costumes and flimsy feather toys share space with the equivalent of McDonald's for dogs? Especially when the holistic pet product train has now pulled into the 305. Natural K-9 is full of all-natural, chemical-free food, treats, medicinals, and grooming materials for dogs and cats. OK, there aren't quite as many toys here, but the store's focus is the overall well-being of pets. That's why it carries raw food and everything from freeze-dried to grain-free to specialty, limited-ingredient brands such as Great Life dog food. You'll pay a little more — an eight-pound bag of Great Life's buffalo dog food runs $26.39, for instance, but it's made with real lean buffalo meat and a bucketful of other great ingredients like kelp and kale sprouts. The staff is friendly, hands-on, and incredibly knowledgeable, and if your pet has allergies or specific dietary needs, or is just fussy, they will weight the pros and cons of every brand to help you choose the best option. You've already realized how much that box full of organic produce makes you feel better; why condemn Fido to another bowl of GMO factory-farmed nonsense?

Furry Paws Pet Resort
Photo courtesy MaxNorman Pet Photography

There once were two dogs named Daisy and Bean,

the cutest, most lovable pooches you've seen.

They lived with their people, who loved them so much;

together they always ate breakfast and lunch.

But one day their people decided to go

on a two-week vacation to Acapulco.

The people were scared, with much apprehension,

of leaving their dogs without love and attention.

They needed to find the perfect selection

for Daisy and Bean to be safely protected.

Well, Daisy and Bean needed somewhere to go

that was fun and had people to throw them a bone —

a bone made of cookies that helped clean their teeth,

and plenty of water, and plenty to eat.

The people decided to ask all their friends,

and one name was mentioned again and again.

They found there were webcams in this lovely place,

to connect with their doggies across cyber space.

It sounded so nice that they called to make sure,

that this separation was one they'd endure.

The lady they spoke to was nice and polite,

and with that they decided on booking their flight.

And Daisy and Bean went right off in a hurry

to a hotel for dogs that loves paws that are furry.

(Furry Paws Pet Resort day care runs $24 per day, while overnight boarding costs $40 per night.)

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®