Sloan-Hall

Some of the quirkiest, most beautiful and eclectic jewelry we've seen in Houston has been inside the glass cases of Sloan/Hall. Though it's not solely a jewelry store per se, the store's owners, Marcus Sloan and Shannon Hall, seek out artisan jewelry from artists like The Woods and Ileana Makri, which includes everything from a delicate bangle in the shape of a snake with diamond eyes, to stackable rings in a variety of gemstones, to tiny string bracelets with 14k gold "sequins." If you're shopping for a gift, be sure to also check out their excellent selection of cards.

You're going to want to devote some time to Kuhl-Linscomb's sprawling campus, just east of the Whole Foods on Alabama and Kirby. The store is actually five separate showrooms, some in old houses, featuring everything from antiques to candles to jewelry to furniture and linens to an apothecary section with an old-timey feel to it. It's a great place to register for a wedding or housewarming, but it's also a convenient one-stop shop for things like stocking stuffers for literally everyone on your list or for that little something that says, "I'm thinking of you."

Collectors Firearms

Gun lovers in Houston are particularly blessed — unlike some cities, Houston has its fair share of gun stores. But for selection, service and price, it's hard to beat Collectors Firearms. In business for more than 30 years, Collectors boasts an "ever changing inventory of 7,000 guns" as well as thousands of books and a wide range of ammunition and accessories. You can check out the inventory online, which includes everything from the latest Sig Sauer handhelds to antique muskets. Whatever your preference — be it over/under shotguns, Glocks, Browning rifles — Collectors is bound to have it.

For 59 years, Village Shoe Shop has been on a mission to help people find shoes that fit perfectly. How, you ask. Well, for one, they customize shoes that support and hug every contour of your feet — they'll make a cast of your feet and then hand-craft your shoes. And we're not talking clunky orthopedic wear, but stylish get-ups in a variety of styles. They'll also repair your shoes, spiffing them up until they look almost like they did the first day you walked out of the store in them. We suggest you check Village Shoe Shop out — your aching feet will thank you.

It's almost automatic — anytime we need stuff, whether it be a shirt, a shower curtain or a vacuum cleaner, our first thought is "Target!" Like Walmart, it has everything, but unlike with Walmart, you won't feel guilty for shopping there. We're fortunate to have several locations in Houston, but the one we seem drawn to most often is the location on Main — maybe it's the proximity to the Medical Center, in case we come down with an acute case of Overshopping. We especially like this location's grocery section, which has grown into a truly wonderful affair: The meat and seafood are fresh; the beer and wine selection is great; the salespeople are helpful; and the store is bright, clean and ­inviting.

Why go out to an adult video store when free smut is just a Google search away? Adult video stores have to work harder than ever to get business, but Discount 24 Hr Video has figured out the secret to getting people to keep coming back. Not only have they built up quite the collection of porn and sex toys, they've built something even better: a community. The Members Only section of the building provides a welcoming space for those couples and individuals looking to indulge in a bit of erotic video watching in the company of like-minded people. Added bonuses include clean theaters, a friendly and inviting staff, and a privacy fence in the parking lot.

The Police News's subject matter may be relatively limited, but it's the best place around to keep track of the activities of both criminals and law-enforcement officials in the Houston area, particularly the south-southeast quadrant. Founded in 2004, the Galveston-based TPN publishes its print edition monthly, but the jail-bookings ticker on the Web site is updated practically 24-7, down to the last warrant or public intoxication. It's there for a very real purpose: "Our newspaper boasts countless success stories of readers helping authorities locate dangerous fugitives," says the TPN site, which is full of links to Amber Alerts, the FBI's ten most wanted and sex-offender registries. Just about anything else you could hope for related to law enforcement is here somewhere, from interviews with officials and links to auctions near and far and actual police video, such as the December 2011 multi-agency raid on a Santa Fe cockfighting operation that made headlines across the area. Though TPN reports most of its information in a suitably just-the-facts manner, its eye for human folly will slip through in the occasional wry headline like "Ho Hum, Off to Jail Again."

Smith's Opticians has long been Houston's best source for new old stock frames (that means unworn or unopened vintage), but the store also has a carefully curated selection of modern frames (or pretty much any look). Your glasses won't be ready in an hour, and they might cost more than you'd pay at some other places, but the owner, Phillip, will practically wait on you hand and foot until you find the perfect pair. Bonus: You'll have a set of frames unlike anyone else's in this city.

Whether you're a sneakerhead or a hipster, an artist or a bartender, if you want to look good in H-Town, a carefully styled set of hair follicles is a must. The barbers at Kings of the Clippers are exceptionally skilled in fades, shaves, edge-ups and designs. This clean, hip and affordable shop is staffed by welcoming barbers who'll make you feel like royalty, if only for the brief time they allow you to sit on your throne, doing everything possible to make you look your best. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are certainly welcome. Their motto is "The Name Says It All." It truly does.

Swim, bike and run. Those are the elements of a triathlon. But in order to accomplish this strenuous feat of physical ability, you will require three things: a strong will, a meticulous training regiment and the specialized gear needed to complete the journey. That's where Tri on the Run fits in. They have been Houston's triathlon specialty store for more than seven years and continue to be a fountain of triathlon knowledge and expertise for all interested in the sport. On top of the supplies, the staff provides help with run-gait analysis, nutrition selections and race tactics.

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