The Guild Shop

While you're not too likely to find that vintage Van Halen T-shirt at The Guild Shop, it has plenty of other treasures within its walls. It's a great place to find higher-end clothing and retro goods that you typically won't find in the majority of thrift stores. The place is also Montrose's well-kept secret place to score nice furniture on the cheap. From modern-style couches to fancy dishware, you can find it in this place and for a good bargain. If not, wait a week or two and they'll lower the price.

Premium Goods

You ever see someone wearing the most ­incredible pair of sneakers you've ever seen and wonder where in the world they got them? The answer is, most likely, Premium Goods. The sleepy sneaker boutique in the heart of Rice Village specializes in incredible limited-edition and custom-made sneakers. You won't find a new pair of running shoes here — well, you will, but you won't likely go running in them. And if you do, you'll be the most fashionable person on the track.

Really into all things organic? Well, don't forget about your clothes. At Green by Adeline, we're not talking just cotton. No, no. We mean bamboo, beach wood tree and wood pulp. Of course, the trees have been beaten and processed into thread, which is then woven into soft, scrumptious fabrics. Safe, chemical-free, organic dyes are used to produce a variety of deep, lush colors. You'll find simple, well-designed 100-percent organic T-shirts, tops, dresses, pants, sweaters and more. And the best part of it all is, not only are you doing your bit to save Mother Earth, but you're cutting down on dry-cleaning expenses, because all of Adeline's clothing is simple wash-and-wear, with a mostly wrinkle-free finish. The Richmond Avenue location opened less than a year ago and its offerings have already earned rabid fans.

If you're an enterprising thief and want an easy score, look for a storage facility. Find one's that open 24 hours, and then rent the cheapest unit available for access. Show up around midnight with a pair of bolt cutters and have your way. However, you won't want to choose a storage facility that has surveillance cameras or infrared laser beams shooting around the perimeter of the building. So don't choose BullsEye Storage. The place is nuts about security and does, in fact, use infrared laser beams. Even if you're a paying customer, you need special permission to get in after 9 p.m. If you're just looking for a secure place to store your stuff, BullsEye is a safe bet. And if you need to hide or store something where humidity control is important, BullsEye has that, too.

Psychotherapist Denise O'Doherty has all the right credentials: She's a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Oh, and she's also a registered psychiatric nurse. She has a supportive, empowering approach. Have a problem with boundaries? Or maybe your self-esteem is low. No worries. O'Doherty has practical exercises for you that will take you from feeling helpless to feeling strong. Finally willing to face your fears and anxiety? O'Doherty will be there, guiding you every step of the way. Many of O'Doherty's clients come from the GLBT crowd; she's an advocate for gender education among the psychiatric community. And don't worry if you're not ready for weekly shrink sessions — O'Doherty teaches several workshops through Leisure Learning.

This store could win on name alone. Genius. But Tobacco Habana is a serious smoke shop. There's a good selection of pipe and rolling tobacco and papers and pipes and lighters and cutters. There's also those cigarette brands you can't find at the typical corner store. The cigar selection stands out, with a humidor that's huge for the store's size. Check out the Gurkha Warlord cigar, which is a beast. Smoking is allowed inside, with some lounge chairs and a table set up for smokers. Another nice surprise for this small store: Tobacco Habana also sells Cuban-esque smoking shirts from Perdomo and others.

Are you a parent who feels like you're going to snap if you see that freaking Geoffrey the Giraffe one more time? Well, there is a surefire way to avoid stepping into that developmentally delayed mutant of a mammal's lair ever again: Fundamentally Toys. First of all, they have a "toy philosophy," which sounds pretty darn cool, and what parent worth his or her salt wouldn't agree with this: "While playing should always be FUN, it must also be taken seriously. Children are building a variety of skills, talents and abilities as they play. Their playthings should enrich and enhance their development." The store backs that up with a ton of exciting and educational games and toys. Plus, they plan and host theme birthday parties, providing the activities and the cupcakes, so you can kick back and actually have time to enjoy things — without once ever having to check behind your back for that long-necked behemoth.

If you're looking to give the ol' pad a modern makeover, then be sure you're free on Saturday. That's the only day this little shop near Texas Southern University is open. Luckily, it's stocked with plenty of modern-design sofas, chairs, bed frames, lamps, dishware, artwork and other furnishings. In other words, it's a one-stop shop. The selection does outweigh the space, so you'll need to do some rearranging and light lifting to see everything, but it's worth it. The staff (and by staff we mean the owner, who runs it on her own) is knowledgeable, friendly and, most importantly, reasonable.

West Alabama Animal Clinic

Dr. Danielle Rosser brings her golden ­retriever to work every day. Lucky dog. The homey atmosphere, friendly staff and fat cats lounging on the counter create an old-time ambience, but the new two-story, state-of-the-art, $1.5 million building next to the original clinic is nothing but high-tech animal health care. Need a DNA test to determine your mutt's ­heritage? Done. Doggie needs dental work? Done. Boarding your pup or cat? Check them into the new clinic's facilities for a relaxing stay. There's grooming, day care and ­behavioral medicine — everything for the pampered pet in your life.

Movies! The Store

When you enter this neighborhood spot, owner and manager Rob Arcos greets you with a smile and a wave. You can walk in totally clueless about what to rent, and Rob will happily offer recommendations on anything from TV shows to indie and foreign flicks. He has a lot of stuff you haven't heard of and, since he's seen all his stock, can tell you if it's good or bad. While his collection isn't comprehensive, it has everything we've ever needed for a slothful weekend of movie marathons. Awesome daily specials (including two-for-one catalog items on Wednesdays) keep this local business competitive with Netflix. But if lust is your vice, you're better off trying 420 down the street — contrary to what some think, Movies! does not have a "back room."

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