Ahhh, Cindie's, you had us at "butt-plug." Cindie's sells good old-fashioned fun: We're talking body jewelry, oils, vibrators, love kits, body stockings, even educational videos for those in the remedial classes. Their hours are great, too open till midnight Monday through Saturday and until 10 p.m. on the Lord's day! So if you suddenly find yourself in last-minute need of a Squirting Dinger or a Jumbo Jack Man-O-War (in black or ivory), chances are there's a Cindie's not too far away. The stores have a good refund/exchange program, too, in case your Doc Joc Incredible Jack-Off Device didn't deliver the payoff it promised. Whether you and your partner want to spice things up a little, or whether you and, uh, you want to spice things up, Cindie's has the goods.
If there's one thing every dog loves, it's wearing clothes. And in Houston, your best selection is at this venerable chain, which carries a bounty of haute couture for Fluffy and Rex. This summer, why not treat your bitch to a striped tennis dress or a cool zebra-print affair? For your he-dog, try out a fresh velour hoodie or bandanna. And when it's bedtime, have your loved ones curl up in comfy fleece pajamas. T-shirts, vests, lifejackets, sweaters everything a dog or small quadruped child could want. The quality is high, but you won't have to worry about Armani prices. Now there's no excuse to show up to the park with a nekkid pooch!
Rover Oaks Pet Resort
Why not give your special buddy a chance to get footloose and fancy free while you're at work? Take him to Rover Oaks, a company founded on a philosophy of "positive reinforcement, plenty of exercise, and group play' for pets with good social skills," and whose Houston location (there's one in Katy, too) boasts a lakeside campus. Tell us you don't want that for your dog! In addition to day care, Rover Oaks offers training, grooming and boarding. Heck, at Rover Oaks, Duke might even be livin' better than you.
Walking into Doug & Don's Barber Shop in the Heights is like taking a step back in time. Nostalgic photos and articles line the walls, and the sounds of KPFT, Neil Young or the afternoon news fill the room during conversational lulls. It's a classic barbershop, similar to one you may have seen in television commercials or in the movie Rushmore. Leonard Morgan, who's generally stationed at the fourth chair on the far end of the room, is practicing one of his life's passions the others are softball and vintage cars and cuts each head with deft precision. Don't expect a mall job when you sit in this man's chair, and don't try to see him if you're in a rush. Leonard takes his time with each subject, artfully edging up each customer with a straight razor and taking the time to trim beards and mustaches to match the new coif. Many barbers use electric clippers for everything they can, but this guy prefers to keep it old-school. It takes about 30 minutes for Leonard to get everything just so, but he charges only $8 for a cut. Even his prices are old-fashioned.
In Houston, finding a mechanic you can trust is as important as finding a competent doctor; many people in this town practically live in their vehicles, and chances are that your car will see more time on the operating table than you ever will. That's why it's imperative to find someone who has not only the knowledge to get the job done but also the heart not to rip you off. At Kar Hospital, the small familylike crew attends to your needs like the best nurses and doctors would if it were you lying under the lights. They treat your car like a patient, keeping a detailed chart of what has been done, what needs to be done and what should be done to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. And if you're the type who needs a little extra clarification, they're always willing to sit and explain every detail. They use top-of-the-line parts, guarantee all their work and leave a lollipop on your dash when they're finished. Now, if they'd only accept Gold Cards, we're really be in business.
Seedy strip-mall location? Check. Pale, geeky-yet-arrogant clerks who live up to the stereotype by listening to bands like Rush and Jethro Tull? Yep. Nan's has all of those things. (And best of all for male comic book lovers, they even employ some cute comic-book-loving girls.) Even better than all that is the inventory. While the store is definitely cluttered and disheveled, that's exactly the way you want these places to be. While you're there, pick up an early issue of Wolverine, a few packs of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, a Monty Python and the Holy Grail doll and some gore-dripping figures from the Rob Zombie flick The Devil's Rejects.
Sound Exchange
Sound Exchange might not have the widest selection of local music the place is too small for that but it's still the best spot to buy the stuff. That's because the staff there knows local music like no other salespeople anywhere, and they pretty much stock anything from any band willing to walk in with a consignment. And Sound Ex is where most local rock musicians shop, too, so there's a decent chance you can get your CD autographed while you're there. And on occasion, the store hosts raucous, BYOB in-stores, most often starring local punk, indie rock and metal bands.
Sig's Lagoon
The demise of Cactus Music and Video this year left a huge void in Houston's music scene. Not because of the inventory, mind you, but because of the sense of community and the 100-percent-Houston-proud vibe Cactus had. Good thing Sig's Lagoon opened up shop. Though much smaller than Cactus, Sig's offers the same type of music and gifts and even the same in-stores by touring and local musicians. The store brims with music by local musicians past and present, and you can't get much more Houstonian than naming your record store after the late and legendary local columnist Sig Byrd. Sig's Lagoon is Cactus condensed.
Admit it back in the day, you were totally envious of that kid who sported an "I'm a Pepper" T-shirt. Now, thanks to folks who purge their clothes from yesteryear, you can finally get your hands on one at That 70s Shop if you stop in at the right time. Although the name evokes memories from the decade of platform shoes, gaudy fabric patterns, polyester pants and big collars, the shop is a vintage oasis filled with styles from the past 50 years some of which are making a comeback. And you can't help but love the reasonable prices and the friendly, knowledgeable staff. All things considered, That 70s Shop is one groovy trip into the past without any of the nasty side effects.
On any given Saturday afternoon, crafty soccer moms, fashionable drag queens and frantic brides-to-be can be seen pushing and pulling at thousands of bolts of fabric and at each other in search of a yard of perfect pastel polyester or a roll of fabulous faux fur. With one of the widest selections of fabrics, patterns and accessories to choose from in the Southwest, High Fashion Fabric Center is a magnet for do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike. Whether you're making a sari, a cheerleading outfit, a bathrobe or a prom dress, you'll want to make High Fashion your first stop. And though the prices might be a little higher than at the strip malls, the quality is ten times better.

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