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."

Retropolis

Retropolis is a little overstuffed with goods from the '30s to the '80s, but any true vintage buyer knows it's all about the hunt. The place is known for its well-stocked (and fairly priced) selection of vintage dresses, pearl-snap cowboy shirts and jewelry, but there's always a wide range of wares from every era. We recommend giving yourself a couple of hours to wander through this Heights location. It operates like a vintage mini-mall, with a variety of vendors always adding their latest finds to the mix. The prices meet the condition (in other words, if you want something nice, you'll pay for it) but nothing is too steep, unlike the prices you'll find up the road.

Sound Exchange

Sound Exchange has been slanging rare and collectible records to Houston's stone-cold junkies for years now. And those junkies have good reason to be repeat customers; the incredibly fresh selection and well-priced bins of '60s psychedelic music and soul are hard to beat. And the two owners are courteous enough — or fiendish enough — to regularly slip you some hip sounds from their secret stash. You'll most likely leave the place as high as can be with a fat sack of vinyl under your arm and a little coin left over in your wallet.

You go to all the trouble of coming up with a catchy business name like "Two Girls and a Broom," and the next thing you know everyone's talking about some hideous YouTube video that sounds very, very similar. You could change, or you could take to heart the words of cubicle-slave Michael Bolton in Office Space: "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks." Likewise, Two Girls and a Broom have decided to soldier on with their moniker, providing timely, efficient and friendly cleaning service. They're committed to using "green," environmentally friendly products and getting done as fast as possible. But no, don't ask them if they have a cup.

Penzey's Spices

Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama would surely weep tears of joy upon walking through the door to Penzeys spice shop. Located on the fringe of the Height's über-hip West 19th Street, this cute boutique is a sumptuous ode to the senses. Cinnamons, curries and chilies galore — this place has them all, and more variety than even the most expert chef will know what to do with. Next to the bottles packaged for sale, each spice is kept in a glass jar with a brief write-up about its history, there for your smelling enjoyment. Spice geeks and neophytes alike can spend hours wandering the aisles and reading recipes. There's even a coloring corner for the kids while Mom and Pop relax and breathe it all in.

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