Kenneth Lester Comedian Eddie Izzard once had this to say about a chiropractor: "They could have their fingers in your nostrils, one foot on the back of your underpants, and they're pushing your spine away with a broom." While you won't find any brooms at Lester's office, you will find a practitioner so hell-bent on health that he's been known to slash his office hours so he can train for triathlons. Lester's gung-ho when it comes to whole-body health, at-home exercise and muscle-bone relationships. His Kirby office teems with River Oaks wives, corporate bigwigs, models, athletes and everyday folk looking to get past a nagging injury, excel at yoga or even rehab from a stroke. If you're looking for something more than a glorious rubdown, Lester's got your back.

Tina Knowles Destiny's Child has an image and a style that's recognized worldwide. In her new book, Destiny's Style, Tina Knowles, the creator of the world-famous Destiny's Child look, shares her (and the group's) shopping, sewing and lifestyle secrets. Her designs have graced the covers of such magazines as In Style and Vogue, influenced the style of women across the globe and helped Destiny's Child land merchandising deals with AT&T, L'Oréal and Candies. Knowles grew up wearing clothes she and her mother made together, and she's taught her daughters -- Beyoncé and Solange -- the importance of creativity, individuality and independence. (She had them sewing at a young age so they could personalize their own clothing.) We can all breathe easy knowing Beyoncé has something to fall back on should she ever find herself out of work.

Tracy Writers know their mechanics. Driving around this city in search of hot stories puts a lot of strain on our old jalopies. And most of us certainly aren't getting rich, so we need a mechanic who's honest and affordable. According to statistics, there are only about ten such folks left in the world. And, luckily, one of them lives in Houston. His name is Tracy, and he owns Showcase Motors on Main, just north of downtown. Showcase not only fixes cars, it sells and rents them too -- which makes things extremely convenient. And his work is flawless. Tracy's been known to drop prices for struggling writers and starving artists and even gives occasional discounts on rental cars, too. At times, he's been known to even undersell customers, telling them they don't need all the things they requested. Now that's service.

The Guild Shop
The Guild Shop Walking through the doors of the Guild Shop is like being on stage with Monte Hall. On the price tags you'll find three prices. Next to each price is a date. The price goes down as the dates progress. So if you think you can hold out for a few days on buying that wicker wheelchair or matching set of tombstone salt-and-pepper shakers, you might save up to 75 percent -- provided no one else wants it. It's a tricky proposition. You may really want those vintage Star Wars bed sheets, but surely you can't be the only one. Should you get them now or wait a week and save $8? Let's make a deal, indeed.

Academy Sporting Goods Whether you're looking for a Mossberg Maverick 12-gauge 28-inch synthetic shotgun or a Beretta U22 Neos 4.5 handgun, Academy is your place. With low daily prices on all hunting and protective firearms ($219 for a Smith & Wesson 22A; Rimfire is practically unheard of), they've got specialty gun shops around town beat by an average of $50, and enough ammunition in stock to make David Koresh green with envy. The knowledgeable gun staff will gladly help you fill out the 4473 ATF worksheet required by Big Brother. Once it's determined by the FBI that you're sane and of age and meet a few other state requirements (only Texas residents may purchase handguns in Texas, for instance), it's off to happy hunting land or target practice country or wherever the hell you want to go -- hey, you've got a gun now, it's your shot.

Best Place to Buy an Engagement Ring

I.W. Marks A quarter-century in the making, this jewelry emporium in Braes Heights Center has ten -- count 'em -- ten cases of engagement rings. There are diamond solitaires set in platinum, loose diamonds and the wildly popular three-stone engagement rings. Want to treat her like J.Lo with a pink, yellow or blue diamond ring? I.W. Marks has it. In fact, there's enough bling in this place to cause serious eye damage if you're not wearing shades. Have you found the stone but not the setting? If they don't have the style you want, they'll make it for you. And the best part is, they have remarkable seasonal sales. But no need to tell the little woman that.

Andree's Corner This consignment store is no secret to thrifty Inner Loop 'rents. Located at the busy corner of Kirby and Sunset, it has trendy items for every stage of a kid's life. Andree's knows every mommy (and daddy) needs more time, so the old house is divided into different rooms for girls, boys, shoes and maternity wear. And books and toys are everywhere. With eight years of experience in the kid business, the staff knows how to choose quality goods. Your tot can dress in designer baby clothes for a fraction of the cost or sport cool vintage wear for the same prices offered at stores like Target.

Half Price Books - The Village
Half Price Books Half Price Books rules this town when it comes to getting quality reads on the cheap, and the Rice Village store is the chain's monarch. Here you'll find volumes on just about any subject imaginable -- thanks to the area's college students, who consistently trade in their required reading for beer money. Whether it's your soul that needs mending or your carburetor, this store's got what you need. Fiction, travel, history, psychology, cooking, mystery, drama, sci-fi, antiques, self-help, computers -- these are but a few of the subjects crammed into every cranny of the store. There's also an ample foreign language section and volumes upon volumes on the arts, including painting, sculpture, dancing, architecture and, of course, dancing about architecture.

Haute 2 Trot If your pooch is tired of being in the doghouse of fashion, browse the Web site of local canine couture outfit Haute 2 Trot. Founded four years ago by interior designer Elise Winslow Kelly after she couldn't find any decent clothes for her pampered Chinese crested, Haute 2 Trot has become the ne plus ultra of four-legged fashion. And forget about argyle sweaters. Whether outfitted in Kelly's pink faux fur coats with diamond buttons, tasseled dresses made from Dupioni silk or diamond-studded collars inspired by Dior, Houston's dogs never looked this good. Kelly also offers monogramming, custom fitting and special services such as painting your dog's portrait on a leather jacket. So get with the program, dog people. Milk-Bones and tennis balls are, like, so 2000.

My Cigar Shop: Cigar Factory Sure, there are a lot of tobacconists around town who have nicer stores and more selection than Reno Bayo, but the man wins out because of the little things. His shop is nestled in a strip center between a pedicure place and a tattoo shop, making la-di-da pretension an impossibility. Inside is a small humidor with stogies that are all Cuban seed, all long filler, all hand-rolled and all good. Or if you'd rather roll your own, Bayo will be happy to show you how it's done. Hell, even the surgeon general would be impressed with this man's skills.

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