Best Classes for Parents-to-Be 2017 | The Gathering Place | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Clueless about baby-led weaning? Can't tell a doula from a doormat? The Gathering Place is a one-stop shop for parents-to-be. The North Miami Beach storefront has a complete lineup of classes to support and educate, providing all that is necessary (besides sleep) for the challenging new job of caring for a tiny human. Inside the intimate space, pending and new parents can interview and secure some of the city's most sought-after doulas, learn CPR, join a postpartum depression support group, get dad in the mood to parent, and do some downward dog at eight months preggers, all in one spot. There are classes from the most basic — how to keep your diet healthy while eating for two and constantly craving ice cream and peanut butter — to the more esoteric, like Infant Massage 101. This is how good parenting communities are built. And once you have a little one, you'll know why it takes a village.

Courtesy of Pod 22

Thanks to rampant internet overuse, "self-care" has devolved into one of those annoyingly meaningless clichés, right up there with "changing the paradigm." But you should actually shift your paradigm on self-care, because it's hella important to look out for your body and mind — especially when you're a mother or father with a young kid. Sometimes as you struggle to make sure the little one is regularly fed, rested, and bathed, it feels like no one bothered to think about how to take care of the parental half of the equation. Luckily, Pod 22 got the mom-and-dad memo. This self-billed "urban break room" has created the perfect self- and kid-care spot, all wrapped up inside a gonzo combination of nail salon and indoor playground. Pod 22 promises a "recess from stress" via Wi-Fi, healthy munchies, and — yes! — supervision for your tots. If there were an emoji for "thank the gods," it should be inserted here. Membership costs a onetime registration fee of $150 per family, plus $40 monthly for the first child and $30 extra per sibling. Pod 22's innovative solution for your parenting Catch-22 is worth every penny.

Photo by Jessica Gibbs

How many parents would let their kids eat fast food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? So why are we OK with pet owners doing the same thing? Most mass-produced cat and dog food is demonstrably unhealthy junk, but then again, finding the good stuff for your fur babies isn't always easy. Enter Your Pet's Best, an off-the-beaten-path pet food and supply store in Pinecrest that specializes in organic and holistic food made in the United States and Canada. The store boasts a wide variety of high-end, healthful food choices, treats, toys, accessories, supplies, supplements, and so much more. This is pet paradise. The employees are all bona fide animal whisperers who are exceptionally knowledgeable about the products. Asked on a recent visit for a dog treat that's also great for dental care, a staff member didn't hesitate to point to Bone-A-Mints ($8.99), an all-natural, breath-freshening, mini-size treat. Your pets have had enough of the animal equivalent of Taco Bell — it's time for an upgrade.

courtesy of Barkhaus

Lots of kennels will give your dog a good bath. Many of them will trim your pup's nails without sending him into a nervous fit. Plenty will comfortably house your pet while you go on vacation and keep her entertained during doggy day care while you're at work. But does your kennel do all of this while providing Instagram-ready snaps of your pooch living her DJ Khaled dreams? Not unless you're sending Fido to Barkhaus. The business operates out of a renovated 1939 Little River home, complete with a private outdoor dog park and Barkhaus Beach — a swimming pool for your best friend and his bros. Daycare costs $30 per day, and boarding runs between $35 and $65 a night depending upon the size of your dog. While you're at your cousin's wedding, your pooch can wander Miami's most scenic spots (while safely leashed, of course) and pose for photos in front of Wynwood murals and in the back of the owners' vintage hatchback, achieving more #squadgoals in one day than you can hope to attain in your lifetime. And the evidence is all right there on the 'gram, letting owners know their babies are safe, happy, and hipster AF.

Photo by Laine Doss

Dear Foodie: Last weekend, you forked over the equivalent of a car payment for an oyster tower at brunch and then maxed-out your credit card when the latest master of foraged molecular gastronomy popped up in town. And yet, though you'd never dream of opening a can of Spam for dinner (unless it was in an ironic, Anthony Bourdain kind of way), you still feed your dog any crap that's on sale with a canine on the can. Stop that right now and head to Dishes for Dogs. This on-trend Wynwood place cooks handcrafted and nutritious meals for your pooch. Owner Michael O'Rourke started off by cooking for his Pomeranian, Ripley, who had severe food allergies. Soon family and friends were asking for the dishes for their pets, and then he was selling out at local farmers' markets. He uses only human-grade ingredients such as fresh chicken, apples, and carrots. To ensure all meals are nutritionally sound, he consults with a faculty member at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Prices range according to size and kind of protein, but a five-pound chicken dinner costs $26.75. The look of gratitude Rover gives you after wolfing down a bowl of this slice of doggie heaven: priceless.

Photo by Laine Doss

It's no real mystery why Miamians obsess over treating our pets so well. After all, our city is threatening to be swallowed by the sea like a strip-club-studded Atlantis — no wonder we need the stability that only coming home to a furry friend can offer. So when Fluffy gets into that two-day-old chicken burrito you forgot was on the coffee table, you better believe you'll be dragging him to the best vet you can find: Dr. John Yao. He is personable and caring, and gives your baby the kind of attention you wish you could get at an urgent-care center. In fact, the entire staff — from the receptionists to Jack, the canine nurse-in-residence — will make you and your pet feel pampered and at home. Whether you're visiting Yao for an annual checkup, a teeth cleaning, or a rancid-burrito-related emergency, rest assured his office will make you and your yappy one feel better.

The first locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus confirmed in Miami-Dade County last summer sparked a worldwide frenzy. Miamians who were pregnant or hoping to get knocked up were especially spooked. Reliable information was scarce, and panic was a real possibility. Luckily, Miami had Dr. Christine Curry ready to help. Curry, who teaches and practices obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital, was thrust into the media spotlight because of her experience in treating pregnant women with Zika, which can cause severe birth defects. She was fighting in the front trenches of a scary new outbreak, but her calm, collected, and professional demeanor on local and national news became the voice of reason for many viewers during this frightening time. Curry even penned a widely read in-depth essay for Time detailing her experience as an ob-gyn treating Zika-infected patients. She is just as calm and professional in person as she appears on camera, and she puts her patients at ease so they feel comfortable asking tough questions. Whether you're a patient or just a resident hoping for reasoned, nonhyperbolic news about Zika, Curry is the doctor you want at the examination table.

Nobody likes going to the dentist, and anyone who says they do is either lying or a masochist. But it's a necessary evil if you want to avoid starring in your own Fixodent commercial later in life. To counterbalance the discomfort that comes from drilling and scraping, you want a dentist who is charismatic and congenial in addition to being highly knowledgeable about why your flossing habits suck. Dr. Tatiana Suarez at the Center for Excellence in Dentistry possesses all of those qualities, making her a godsend. Hailing from Brazil, she's incredibly warm, putting her patients so at ease that she's halfway done removing plaque before they even realize what's happening inside their mouths. If that isn't enough, her office is decked out in the latest dentistry technology, including chairs that massage you while she's deep-cleaning and flat-screen TVs if you require the extra distraction. And if your teeth aren't the only part of your body in need of maintenance, Dr. Suarez also does Botox and Juvéderm — but your dental insurance probably won't cover those.

On Miami's male-dominated plastic surgery scene, Dr. Jackie Yee brings a welcome woman's touch to the profession. For more than a decade, the California native has run a low-key practice with her husband, fellow plastic surgeon Tracy Baker, in Dadeland, where the couple has built one of the area's most successful cosmetic surgery centers through word of mouth. She's been dubbed both "the Botox Queen" and "the Mommy Makeover Queen" for her skills with injectable fillers, body contouring and sculpting, and facial rejuvenation. Yee's methodology is slow and easy so that clients leave with a natural look, as if no Botox were injected into their faces at all. Her peers have recognized her as an innovator, placing her on two steering committees of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The association has also invited her numerous times to lead training seminars on the latest facial rejuvenation techniques. But Yee makes it clear that patient satisfaction is always her top priority. "If you are going to start with injectables, start slow, make subtle changes," she told the Plastic Surgery Channel a couple of years ago. "As time goes on, it will look like the best possible version of yourself."

Photo courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

In barely a decade, the half-mile pedestrian mall that runs through the heart of South Beach has transformed from a collection of bohemian shops, gay-friendly establishments, and tchotchke-filled retailers into an open-air orgy of international brands and restaurants. Whether the scruffy Lincoln Road of yesteryear is better than the gleaming version of today is up for debate, but this fact is indisputable: The blocks of shopping and dining from Washington Avenue to Alton Road have never been more popular. Zara, H&M, Gap, Lululemon, Apple, Nike, Victoria's Secret, Scotch & Soda, Urban Outfitters, Meat Market, Shake Shack, Starbucks, and many others can be found here, making a drive to suburban areas like Aventura and Kendall unnecessary for urbanites. The Morris Lapidus-designed promenade still holds onto its old-school charm thanks to street performers working for tips and shirtless rollerbladers zipping up and down the strip. Plus, the people-watching is still free, and there's still no Orange Julius in sight. Sure, you won't be able to escape the heat like at a traditional indoor mall, but you can cool down with a scoop of ice cream at the Frieze or a cocktail at Segafredo.

Readers' choice: Aventura Mall

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