Forever 21 is coming to Newbury Street

Forever 21, the clothing store known for supplying trendy clothing for the economical fashionista, is opening a location on Newbury Street later this summer.  The store will be located at 343 Newbury Street in the location of the Danker and Donahue Garage.  The store will be a whopping 24,000 sf and 4 levels.

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The Pampered Pup

It’s tough to raise a city dog. Grass competes with cement, some apartments practice fur discrimination, and the common city dweller keeps a hectic lifestyle which efficiently leaves room for one beating heart-their own. Many first-time pet owners, like myself, resort to cats due to their self-sufficient bathroom habits and indoor independence. However, there is one Boston neighborhood that seems to truly understand what it takes to nurture the ultimate metropolitan mutt. Imagine, you’re a four-legged pup who wants nothing more than a toy to chew, a warm lap and belly rubs from your best human friend. The South End has dog parks, bakeries, spas, day care and boutiques inspired by humans who know what each type of dog and dog owner could ever need!

To Play

Tucked away in the South West Corridor of the South End is Carleton Court Dog Park. Clever is the hound-shaped wooden sign, practical are polk dot-painted hydrants lining one side of the play area and inviting are the colorful chew toys adorning the fence. There is adequate space to have a leashed canine social and waste bags are readily available for cleaning up after them. Another exciting dog park is Peters Park Dog Run which boasts over 13,000 sq/ft of unleashed fetch and frolic space. There are benches shaded by trees for you to sit on while your dog dashes around slabs of stone. If your pup is too tiny to run with the bigger dogs, there’s an enclosed section that is even scaled down to accommodate dogs 25 lbs and under. And after a long day of inexhaustible fun and hightailing, a water fountain quenches your dog’s thirst and provides a much needed cool down.

To Groom

Aromatherapy shampoo and conditioning treatment? Lovely, where do I sign up? Massage therapy? Yes, please! A nail trim? If you insist. De-shedding treatment? We’re not talking about people here, are we?

The South End pampers people and their pets, and the spas designed for our four-legged friends are absolutely luxurious, two paws up! One of the spas, such as Bark Place, offers indulgent services (including the ones above) and, as they call it, “Play Care” during the week so you can go to work and bring home the Beggin’ Strips. They have a DIY doggy bathsection with individual tubs and provide you with shampoo, conditioner, an apron and towels. What a perfect way to give your dog a thorough wash without the hassle of cleaning up. The facilities are spotless and there isn’t a whiff of wet dog anywhere! While your pup is getting professionally groomed, take a look around Bark Place’s boutique. There are plush beds, toys and nutritious food brands carefully selected to give your dog a higher quality of life you know they deserve.

To Savor

You’ve taken care of your pet’s social life and grooming needs, but now you should definitely give in and spoil them completely. Treats are a must! I am in awe of the Polka Dog Bakery. Not only is the space extremely tasteful and well-designed, the presentation and variety of treats is remarkable. The inner-locavore in you will be thrilled to know many of their “baked goods” are made right in South Boston. They have glass jars brimming with savory delicacies like Chicken Poppers, Tilapia Fish Jerky,  and bone-shaped Peking Duck Krispies. Behind the glass display case are trays of cookies. I chuckle knowing anywhere and anytime in Boston, a pooch could be crunching on a Peanut Butter Cinnamon, Kung Pug, After Dinner Mint, Liver’s Lane or Tuna Yelper cookie.

The Polka Dog Bakery has two levels, an upstairs stocked with wet and dry, refrigerated and non-refrigerated food and a downstairs room full of toys, beds and accessories for both cats and dogs. On the way down, there’s a large chalkboard explaining nutritional information and benefits of the brands of food they carry. It provides a sense of security knowing how much deliberation Polka Dog Bakery puts into every item in their “treat boutique.”

To Love

It doesn’t matter if you’re a cat or dog lover, regardless of the type of animal companion a loving pet owner has the same earnest intentions as the next. The bond between you and your pet grows exponentially and that little furball becomes a full-fledged family member. Animals impact us so deeply they become an inspiration behind an idea as simple as a logo or grand as a charity. These dog-enthusiastic spots were made possible by animal lovers and every little detail shows it. Peters Park Dog Run has a gated area which safely contains your dog even before entering the play areas. On the walls of Polka Dog Bakery are black and white polaroids of canine customers from the past and present. Throughout the South End, you will see water bowls sitting outside of storefronts and possibly a pet lounging within waiting to greet everyone. This is a pets-welcomed neighborhood that you and your furry bestfriend will truly cherish together.

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In my girly dream world of fluffy white clouds, pink satin bows and color-coordinated tea parties there is always room for whimsical baked goods. The perfect bundle of sweetness is, of course, the cupcake, and Sweet has the perfect recipes for sweet-tooth satisfaction.

There has been a light sprinkling of locations in the Boston area but Sweet recently opened up its third location on Newbury Street, a primary retail artery for tourists and locals alike. Sweet has a daily menu of ‘ready-to-eat’ cupcakes you can enjoy year round. They also put thought into the seasons and have Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, holiday and Valentine’s Day recipes as well, so your palate always has something new to look forward to.

Sweet will delivery cupcakes for any occasion. If you’re driving and call them as you’re pulling up, they will bring their cupcakes to your car. What sweet service! Each store offers “icing shots” and miniature versions of cupcakes, which is a convenient way to either have a light indulgence or to partake in multiple delights. Sweet also invites the opportunity to collaborate on custom designed orders – I’m feeling the need for a chocolate curry creation in the near future.

Sweetly simple, simply Sweet.

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AllSaints Spitalfields

You could take a picture in AllSaints from any angle and it would be perfection. Antique Singer sewers and fixtures make prominent exhibits throughout, industrial and raw lighting highlight their vivid merchandise displays and mannequins; there doesn’t seem to be a lackluster inch of space in the entire store. If you were to get rid of every structure and let the clothing, shoes and accessories speak for themselves, they would put your mind into retail rapture.

There are stores where I feel like I’m buying items straight off the factory line, but at AllSaints, a recent addition to Newbury Street, there are pieces I swear I saw at a museum gift shop or senior exhibition at FIT. I’m not one to tout my knowledge of fashion because I, quite frankly, don’t know much about it, but I can say that I know an exquisite article of clothing when I come across one. I feel AllSaints is an unpretentious brand that wants consumers – children, men and women – to adapt as quickly or cautiously as they please. Upon first visit, you might not be ready for their ‘Ditzy Parachute Dress’, but they have wonderful basics with a twist of AllSaints’ personality.

If you’re craving retail therapy and need to spruce up your wardrobe, I highly recommend AllSaints Spitalfields as your remedy.

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Four Preppy Paws

I am not the lucky owner of a dog, but I did adopt a fuzzball-of-a-feline whom I named Tom Hanks, and moments like this make me want to pamper him senseless. Accessorizing and clothing your pet to the point of  hyper-personification (Google: ‘Paris Hilton’) is never a good thing, but treating your pets here and there proves your worth as a pet lover.

As soon as you step into Four Preppy Paws a friendly owner named Heidi, a fellow Emerson graduate, welcomes you. Beacon Hill is a snug neighborhood, yet you notice an exceptional variety of food, treats, toys, totes, leashes, leads and more . There is even a “barkery” with individually wrapped goodies that looked tasty enough for a human to enjoy! I resisted the urge to buy Tom Hanks a personalized harness and leash, but I did walk away with a clever handmade toy crafted by a New England father & daughter duo.

It’s nice to know that there is care and attention put into the items carried in this pet boutique, but you feel even greater knowing Four Preppy Paws has product lines designed for three amazing causes: Puppies Behind Bars, Underdog ResQ and Paws for a Cause. They give a percentage of their sales to each designated organization. A purchase from Four Preppy Paws is sure to get tails waggin’ and smiles growing!

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Pinkberry to open location in Boston

Pinkberry, the L.A. frozen yogurt chain, has announced they will be opening a shop at 286 Newbury Street.  The date the fro-yo shop is opening has not been released due to pending permits.

The shop started in 2005 in West Hollywood and has gained notoriety across the nation because of its candid appearances in the hands of numerous celebrities in gossip magazines like US Weekly.

Their menu includes frozen yogurt with a wide assortment of toppings, smoothies, and fruit parfaits.  Seasonal flavors of their tangy yogurt are always changing.  I can’t wait to try the fro-yo and see what all the buzz is about!

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South End Formaggio

The dilemma:

A. Your significant other informs you that their [judgmental and disinterested] parents are having an impromptu visit in less than three hours and your pantry is anything but tantalizing.

B. You’ve scheduled a real-life date for Friday but backed yourself into a corner by embellishing your online dating profile and saying you’re a world-traveled cheese, cured meats and wine connoisseur. The closest thing to charcuterie you’ve ever tasted are Lit’l Smokies and the furthest destination you’ve ever been to is the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Oh, and it’s Thursday.

C. Your tongue wants to go on a fantastical journey, explore unchartered taste-territories it has never been to before and experience mind-bending flavors and food items worth bringing back to the Old World/your lackluster refrigerator.

The remedy:

A visit to South End Formaggio, which will cure any foodie-predicament. Whether you need to impress others with a sophisticated assortment of hors d’oeuvres and worldly wine or want to surprise your own palate with clever amuse-bouches, a knowledgeable staff member will provide you aide and endless information about their products. The diversity of their imported cheeses, wines, spices, oils, preserves, meats, sweets and prepared foods is overwhelming, but in a way that is so worth the initial shock. South End Formaggio might be small, but don’t shy away from the density of palatable possibilities and let your inner-gourmand run free.

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What’s better than walking into a whimsical gift shop and being greeted by a tail-wagging pooch named Bo? Knowing the gift shop you’re walking into is well in-tune with the surrounding neighborhood, pet-friendly, supports local artists and is owned and run by two philanthropic artists as well. Co-owner Marie has one-of-a-kind pottery and jewelry proudly showcased around the spacious store. Luke Adams, the other owner, displays his masterful hand-blown glass pieces too. The creativity is simply inspiring.

I enjoy the unpretentious selection that Gifted has to offer. From children’s books to painted pet portraits, and imaginative wall decorations to stylish handbags, there is a gift for every occasion and personality. Take your time while browsing, you don’t want to miss the perfect gift! And when you do stop into Gifted, tell Bo to, “Put ‘em up!” You’ll walk away with a smile and realization that you had one of the best retail experiences this side of the Charles River.

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Flour Bakery + Cafe

It doesn’t take Joanne Chang’s defeat of Bobby Flay’s sticky bun throwdown to convince me that Flour is an extraordinary bakery; it just is. Even on a weekday there is a sizeable gathering of customers waiting to get their hands on Flour’s delectable edibles. Brioche and cookies and tarts, oh my!

A full menu is handwritten on the chalkboard wall behind the counter that displays their array of in-house prepared treats, giving you enough eye-candy to make you forget you’re waiting in line. And to my surprise, Flour also satisfies savory cravings. The roasted lamb with goat cheese sandwich makes me want to plan my breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts around Flour’s hours of operation. Good thing there are two locations, the South End and Fort Point Channel, so I don’t seem completely fanatical getting my weekly Flour fix.

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Wired Puppy

Wired Puppy is an environmentally friendly spot for organic and fair-trade coffees, teas and other thoughtful beverages. The environment is inviting and cozy, the décor is clean and fetching. There’s something about exposed brick that gets me every time.

See how nice everything looks? I wish Wired Puppy existed in my college years because I could definitely see myself cracking open textbooks in the workspace ‘round back, secluded from the touristy bustle of Newbury Street. However, there is outdoor seating perfect for people watching.

Wired Puppy has complimentary wireless Internet supplied by Tech Superpowers, a complimentary computer for public use, and even complimentary treats for your beloved hound. Looking to shrink the size of your ecological footprint? You have three different ways to dispose of your empties: plain trash, recyclables or compostable rubbish. Take that, Starbucks!

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