Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Lana Gooding can handle just about any design request, whether you're looking for a simple Astrodome icon on your arm or fancy the full-body coverage of a lifelong sailor. She'll ink up whatever you want, wherever you want it. But it's her bedside manner that keeps clients coming back again and again. She can sense when they're in pain, even after they've said, "No, I'm fine," a half-dozen times. In those moments, she pulls away the tattoo gun, offers a kind look and says, "Breathe." She's so calm, collected and quick, it's no wonder Houston's ink-lovers follow her wherever she's set up shop.
READERS' CHOICE: Chicken Wing
There's no "let's take a quick look around" with this one. Beyond the neon-green door in the historic Houston Heights, you'll find — by way of a collective of individual vendors — two stories stuffed and overstuffed with vintage, reproduction and retro garb. Looking to win the ugly Christmas sweater contest at work? Headed to an '80s Dynasty party? Want to win his heart with a retro-chic '50s halter sun dress? Retropolis has it all, plus an extensive collection of gently used cowboy boots for when rodeo season comes around. It might take a little digging to find that perfect piece, so bring a friend, grab some lunch along 19th Street, then take a trip down memory lane through Mom's or Grandma's attic.
READERS' CHOICE: Buffalo Exchange
If your life is an endless stretch of staring at screens all day, treat yourself to a dose of chiropractic work: Your neck will thank you. Susan Bradshaw at Lone Star Chiropractic will work your body in ways that will not only start helping with your issues but will also give you some much-needed relaxation. Even if you're not feeling any pain and just love to pop your joints, you haven't lived until you've heard what your spine and neck can do in the right hands.
Whether you're a pro looking for a high-performance racer or a newbie wanting to ride the trails, the staff at Blue Line Bike Lab has you covered. With bikes hanging from the ceiling and stacked on two-tiered racks, the store looks like a giant bike garage, and the staff wields pumps and ratchets in the back for full-service repairs. Not sure what kind of cruiser you need? Just chat with the staff and they'll point out the best ride for your height, experience and price range. On that note, Blue Line offers a layaway plan to help you afford the bike of your dreams.
READERS' CHOICE: Blue Line Bike Labs
With five locations, the comic aficionados at Bedrock City know how to spread the love around town, but we're giving props to the Westheimer store because of its size, selection and staff. It's got floor-to-ceiling games, graphic novels, statues, model kits, toys, posters, tees, back issues and so much more. On Free Comic Book Day, the staff handed out 10,000 comic books, bringing in artists, celebrities and bands to turn it into a party. Plus, there's always something going on like ladies' nights and Doctor Who Comics Day, and the shop's DC Rebirth and Civil War II #3 launch parties were epic.
READERS' CHOICE: Bedrock City Comic Company
If you long to be a modern-day Fred Astaire, Tap Happy will teach you the moves. This adult tap dance studio started out in 2008 with just a beginner class, but now founder Sara Draper offers options for all levels. All the teachers use Draper's standards, meaning you'll learn with tried-and-true techniques. Whether you already can perform a soft-shoe shuffle with the seemingly effortless grace of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson or are just now living out your childhood fantasy of becoming the next Ginger Rogers, Tap Happy has a class for you.