Socially conscious crafters can take home a hand-stitched measuring-tape cat (Vietnam, $8) from Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts, while frugal fashionistas can sport dancing-girl earrings made from recycled soda cans by KICK Trading Ltd. (Kenya, $12) or a marbled bead choker from TARA Projects (India, $16). Decorate the great outdoors with Manos Amigas' ceramic bird wind-chime (Peru, $44), or beautify the indoors with the world children wall hanging (Haiti, $84) from Comité Artisanal Haitien. Fair-trade staples, such as Equal Exchange coffee, tea, and chocolates, make tasty gifts for Father's Day, Secretary's Day, or Father's Secretary's Day.
"Wired and Fired is the best date [we] have ever been on," wrote Haley and Jeff, whose first meet-up went so swimmingly that they married less than two years later. Perhaps the duo bonded over their shared creativity: at the studio, blank white dishes, figurines, boxes, and banks await fresh coats of paint and glaze from brush holders. Artists also can stop by the Bling Bar to spangle their bisqueware with colorful gems poured from the bartender's shaker. Pieces emerge glossy and dishwasher-safe from the kiln about three days later.
Wired & Fired isn't just popular with the cupid-struck set—the kid-friendly environment is also a favorite hangout for families, especially when Family Night on Wednesdays offers discounts for tots. (Tuesdays are Ladies' Nights.) Children and adults alike can hold their birthday parties or private get-togethers at the studio, where they're invited to bring their own snacks, pizzas, and even 21-or-older beverages. Partiers can daub paint onto pottery or learn to fuse glass into jewelry, bowls, and vases. Those preparing a custom gift may call upon the talents of Wired & Fired's on-staff artists.
Fearless Weirdos pushes fashion frontier boundaries by weaving American and Japanese designer threads together in one funky, retro location, earning the store a devoted following and a feature on Thrillist. Dresses, T-shirts, bags, shoes, retro finds, and uncommon outfit accompaniments from Fearless Weirdos' in-house brand jostle for attention next to hard-to-find lines such as Hello Kitty and Ascension by Ascension. Pull on a Biluxi clown tee ($24), or ensconce gams in black-and-white polka-dot leggings ($25), which cleverly conceal the skin's natural polka-dot pattern. Inspired by a black-and-white checkerboard floor and vintage albums gracing the walls, chicness seekers can slip into a Fearless Weirdos black off-shoulder sleeve dress ($40), pop on a pair of steel-toe flats ($34), or prepare for stylish touristing with a canvas fanny pack ($45). Dudes can peruse the store's selection of shirts, such as the nautical black-and-white T-shirt ($35) or pick up a pair of cool guy sandals ($45). A Japanese soda bar serves mochi ice cream and candy, and Fearless Weirdos often features local artists on the walls and over the house sound system.
At Niramish, turmeric bursts in sunset hues in curries. Mango and pineapple cut the spice in cool chutneys, and the aromas of ginger and garlic tangle in the air. Those scents drift from clay-oven tandoori dishes, curries, and fried rice. The dishes range from mild to hot and spicy, with mango lassis and buttered naan bread soothing palates still a-tingle from plates of tofu vindaloo cooked south-Indian style.
Dirt-ridden clothes are reborn into dapper duds thanks to the meticulous attire experts at Prestige Cleaners, who'll scour the surface of formal and casual apparel, including pants, skirts, sweaters, and scarves ($4.50 each). Frocks, lab coats, and jackets of windblown riffraff ($9 each) can forgo shrink-prone methods for a cleansing drier than Oscar Wilde's chalk collection, and spotless winter shrouds and raincoats ($13.50 each) will pique the curiosity of Old Man Winter. Prestige's first-rate garment gurus can also erase any unwanted marks from silk and linen fashion for an added dollar.