Whether you're new to yoga or on an elevated plane, the flowmasters at Joy Yoga understand that everyone's path is unique and only ask that you be enthusiastic and keep an open mind. Yogis attend for different reasons, from needing a form of exercise that won't damage the body, to having the kind of job that feels like a gauntlet, to pursuing their own journey toward becoming an instructor. Classes are varied, ranging from prenatal classes and those that focus on core and precision or revival and relaxation, to super-intensive power and cardio classes such as Insanity and Rock Your Flow. We like that it's easy to see which instructors are teaching, and Joy Yoga updates its website regularly if a substitute is scheduled.

READERS' CHOICE: Joy Yoga Center

Lana Gooding can handle just about any design request, whether you're looking for a simple Astrodome icon on your arm or fancy the full-body coverage of a lifelong sailor. She'll ink up whatever you want, wherever you want it. But it's her bedside manner that keeps clients coming back again and again. She can sense when they're in pain, even after they've said, "No, I'm fine," a half-dozen times. In those moments, she pulls away the tattoo gun, offers a kind look and says, "Breathe." She's so calm, collected and quick, it's no wonder Houston's ink-lovers follow her wherever she's set up shop.

READERS' CHOICE: Chicken Wing

It's only called "Boot City" because "Boot, Jeans, Belt, Hat, Dresses, Outerwear, and Accessories City" takes up too much space. But really, there's no better place to get in touch with your inner urban cowboy. Cavender's has western gear for the whole family, and with decent prices, you won't have to worry about them lassoing your wallet. We're talking Larro, Stetson, Wrangler and plenty more. We especially love the Rock & Roll Cowboy line. Whether you want to dress to impress at the rodeo or just don't feel right without a quality pair of boots on your feet, look no further than Cavender's.

It's only called "Boot City" because "Boot, Jeans, Belt, Hat, Dresses, Outerwear, and Accessories City" takes up too much space. But really, there's no better place to get in touch with your inner urban cowboy. Cavender's has western gear for the whole family, and with decent prices, you won't have to worry about them lassoing your wallet. We're talking Larro, Stetson, Wrangler and plenty more. We especially love the Rock & Roll Cowboy line. Whether you want to dress to impress at the rodeo or just don't feel right without a quality pair of boots on your feet, look no further than Cavender's.

Watching Stephanie Bennett work with dogs is not quite like watching a dog whisperer, but it's close. At Peace Love Dogs, her facility in Spring Branch, she carefully observes and gives positive reinforcement to both pooch and pet parent. She's patient and, most important, realistic. Her guidance is designed for what is best for the animal, understanding that all dogs are different. From group classes to one-on-one training, Bennett and her team at Peace Love Dogs are as good as it gets, no matter what the breed or temperament.

READERS' CHOICE: Yuppie Dog

B-Cycle may not necessarily be brand-new, but the bike-sharing service is in the middle of a huge expansion, thanks to a $3.5 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration. With that money, Houston B-Cycle is nearly tripling its service, adding 71 new stations across the city and 568 new bikes. Rice University will be getting eight new stations in November alone, and there will be another 14 in the Texas Medical Center and three more in the Museum District. The rest will be placed over the next two years, with the end result being more than 100 stations and nearly 800 bikes.

If it seems like there is a mattress store on every street corner in Houston, that's because there often is. It takes something special to stand out in such a labyrinth of franchises, and Texas Mattress Makers found it in the soothing voice of founder and Israeli emigre Youval Meicler, who narrates the company's TV spots in a tone that might as well be a lullaby. Priced competitively with your neighborhood strip mall's Mattresses R Us, Texas Mattress Makers brings an artisanal degree of craftsmanship to one of the most fundamental decisions a family will ever make. As Meicler points out, at Texas Mattress Makers they build mattresses every single day.

Cactus Music

Browsing Cactus is overwhelming at first. The more you flip through every record and CD, the more you realize truly how long it would take you to finish. Not only does Cactus's expansive library include all your essential classics and alt-rock chart-toppers, but the staff also has a good eye for local gems — and excels at promoting them with album release parties. Those events are one of the store's great draws, featuring not only local acts, like Buxton and The Mighty Orq, but also touring acts, like Wild Belle and Titus Andronicus's Patrick Stickles, who play on the store's small stage and interact with the crowd in an intimate setting. You don't need an excuse to go — but if you want one, the beer is often free.

READERS CHOICE: Cactus Music

Big Kat's Tattoo and Barbershop

Big Kat's is about as old-school as they come. Spinning customers in black metallic chairs on black-and-white checkered tile, the barbers offer traditional cuts, pomade styling and hot-towel straight-razor shaves. With Ramones posters and skateboard decks on the walls, the place kind of feels like the inside of a drummer's garage. The walk-ins-only policy means you might have to wait a bit, but no worries: This barbershop's equipped with an old fridge, so you can sip on beer or root beer to pass the time.

READERS' CHOICE: Cutthroat Barbers

Walking into an e-cig supply store, especially for vaping newbies, can sometimes be a self-esteem-crushing experience. Not so at The Vapor Gypsy, which is staffed with super-friendly and erudite employees who aren't going to denigrate you or thrust their vape-filled nostrils into the sky. Prices are very fair for starting-from-scratch set-ups and juices, which include a weekly 50-percent-off flavor of the week, and the staff is schooled at pairing juice flavor with rookie and veteran vaper. The colorfully decorated shop — which also sells replacement parts and e-cig accessories as well as handbags and jewelry — recently expanded its lounge room and its already exquisite tasting bar.


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