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2013CriticsServices

Best Car Wash Club
Mister Car Wash

You could spend a lot of time with a hose in hand, buffing your baby, or a lot of coin at the gas station drive-through car wash getting your ridey tidy. But why? Mister Car Wash offers a monthly plan to keep your hoopty happy. You choose the package: Express, Full Service, or one of two different Platinum levels. Then, just pay through an auto bank draft and pull that puppy through their system as often as you like. Yes, more than once a day, if you're so inclined. Heck, after you're done with one wash, you could whip your whip right back into the express lane and go back through again. Again! Again!

Mister Carwash, 5721 Burnet Rd., 512/451-4970, www.mistercarwash.com

Mister Carwash, 8500 Research Blvd., 512/467-6633, www.mistercarwash.com

Mister Carwash, 111 S. Bell Blvd., Cedar Park, 512/918-3003, www.mistercarwash.com

Mister Carwash, 2720 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/218-4000, www.mistercarwash.com

Best Cheap-Ass Massage
Foot Relax

While the obvious draw to Foot Relax may be the price – $35 for an hour of what is actually a fully-clothed, full body massage – perhaps the best thing about the place is the silence. Unlike most spas, where private rooms facilitate conversation about your massage therapist's struggles with his or her new gluten-free diet, the massage areas at Foot Relax (at least the northern location) are cordoned off with thin pieces of fabric. So the only pressure you'll feel is acupressure, not social.

Foot Relax, 13000 N. I-35, Bldg. 11 #101, 512/833-9454, www.footrelaxaustin.com

Best Daring Do
Jen Rische

photo by Devaki Knowles

Want an unconventional, eye-catching do? Jen Rische is the stylist to go to, and she really lives up to her name as the “Hair Jedi.” Aside from her awesome personality and endearing laugh, she will give you one of the best haircuts you have ever had. If you want a design artfully shaved on the side of your head or to dye your hair a multitude of colors, Jen will hook you up. Visit her at Wet Salon, and you won’t be disappointed.

Wet Salon, 1109 S. Congress, 512/444-7375, www.wetsalonatx.com

Best Far-Out Friend in Flowers
D. Sweetpea's Custom Floral Design

photo by Devaki Knowles

She's just like her name sounds: a total sweet pea, a perennial pal, your angel of efflorescence. Okay, D. Sweetpea isn't always just sweet or tender. Sometimes she's wild, frenetic, exotic, otherworldly. Just like relationships. And whatever the case – birthday bouquet, "I love you" lilies, anniversary arrangement, get-well gladiolas, floral flirtation, whatever – her magical flower power enables her to read love's mind and give you the chance to present the most perfect expression of petals, pistils, stigma, and stamen on earth.

Dsweetpeas, www.dsweetpeas.com

Best Head Shrinker
Emory Tankersley, Fringe Salon

First and foremost, she can tame your mane back into its most fabulous form, but Emory also has the gift of a great listener. She takes all of her clients' needs and wishes to heart for their cuts, and she'll listen better than anybody to your latest work frustration, romantic victory, or foodie find. And since this lovely lady does everything from jewelry making to personal training, you'll find yourself looking forward to hearing what she's got to say, too. (Pro tip: Trade book recommendations!)

Fringe Salon, 701 Rio Grande, 512/477-7007, www.fringesalonaustin.com

Best Mini Horse Luv
TIE: Minis and Friends; Hearts & Hooves

Minis and Friends   photo by Sandy Carson

When we're in the mood for a good old-fashioned happy-cry, we know we can always turn to these two organizations to give us what we need. Both Hearts & Hooves and Minis and Friends specialize in training mini horses, as therapy animals then bringing them into the lives of children, adolescents, adults, and elders, some with illnesses, disabilities, or emotional and behavior issues. These little horses offer solace and healing for lonely hearts and hurting bodies, and help people experience and learn compassion, empathy, and love.

Minis & Friends, 4509 Walsall Loop, 512/293-8808, www.minisandfriends.org

Hearts & Hooves, 608 W. 12th, 512/376-7667, www.heartsandhooves.org

Best Nails, Y'all
Nails Y'all

photo by Kate X Messer

Megan Rosales may have won national press for her Wendy Davis nail art, but we've been a fan of her and her creations for a long time. A cartoonist at heart, Rosales creates such delightful designs that it was only a matter of time until the rest of the country caught up. If you are looking for a portrait of your dog, a tribute to your favorite band or sports team, or a custom design specially crafted for your next big event, Nails Y'all is the place to go, hands down. Or let your fingers do the walking online at her Etsy store for Wendy Davis, galaxy, or the Hunxx of Astrophysics (Carl Sagan & Neil deGrasse Tyson) press-on decals.

Nails Y'all, nailsyall.tumblr.com

Best Non-Toothy Reason to Sit in a Dentist's Chair
Jerry Milner, DDS

We know we're in good hands while Doc Milner performs dental maneuvers with picks or abraders or instruments that sound like something from a dubstep joint, but it's the gorgeous view from his dental chairs that truly comforts us: wide, clear windows onto a wooded hillside where deer occasionally graze and avian brightness flutters its feathered life around well-stocked bird feeders. Ah, the natural world, unfolding just beyond our feet – now, rinse.

Jerry Milner, DDS, 11410 Jollyville, 512/372-8484, www.smiles-for-life.com

Best of Both Medicinal Worlds
Tom Schnorr, R.Ph., CCN

Who among us hasn't wished there was someone really smart out there who could explain both the drugs in the M.D.'s tool kit and the alternative health stuff – the supplements and herbs the doc isn't too sure about but lots of us actually prefer. Tom Schnorr, compounding pharmacist and certified clinical nutritionist, is that guy. (Isn't the pharmacist usually the smartest one in the room?) Many M.D.s send their patients to Schnorr. Such an efficient way to get enlightened about all the stuff you're taking. Or should be.

Apothecary Shop, 3010 Bee Caves Rd., 512/327-7455, www.austincompoundingtx.com

Best Onsite Swag Printers
Industry Print Shop

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it. Trash it, change it, mail – upgrade it. Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it. Snap it, work it, quick – erase it. Write it, cut it, paste it, save it. Load it, check it, quick – rewrite it, Name it, rate it, tune it, print it. Scan it, send it, fax – rename it. Touch it, bring it, pay it, watch it. Turn it, leave it, start – format it. They're like little robots that come to your party with stock or custom designs and, right in front of your eyes, silkscreen your shirts, bags, bandanas, what have you. See it, pick it, screen it, print it, Wash it, wear it – there you have it!

Industry Print Shop, 6721 N. Lamar #110, 512/524-0181, www.industryprintshop.com

Best Pharmacy Service
Rite-Away Pharmacy

Down-home, good old-fashioned pharmacy customer service is somewhat like the gentleman who rides his bike around town in nothing but a thong: We hear about it all the time, but seeing it firsthand can be a little confusing. Rite-Away Pharmacy is no frills, and the pharmacists are just happy to see you any time you walk through the door.

Rite Away Pharmacy, 730 W. Stassney, 512/827-2600, www.riteawaypharmacy.com

Best Shelter Dog Training
Dogs Out Loud

Although Austin is a no-kill city, some dogs with behavioral problems don’t make the cut. Enter nonprofit Dogs Out Loud, which strives to make Austin a true no-kill city by making every dog adoptable. Sometimes certain shelter dogs need a little extra TLC, and the ladies at DOL take the most difficult yet most loveable of pups and provide “training, behavior rehabilitation, and high-quality care in a home-like environment." They also provide free post-adoption support services. The women at DOL are truly passionate about what they do. They are kind, caring, and will be your dog's strongest advocate and cheerleader.

Dogs Out Loud, www.dogsoutloud.org

Best Slightly Disturbing Arm Candy
Sugar Weasel

Our fair city has its share of public characters, and we're working hard to create new ones all the time. "But," we can't help but wonder, "why can't we pay any of them to spend a little quality time with us?" Enter Sugar Weasel, the clown escort. What experience is complete without the company of a rockabilly clown to ice the cookie (as it were)? None, we say. The only downside is that sometimes we have to share him with Las Vegas. He's great for parties or more intimate moments, but sorry kids, Sugar Weasel is for adults only.

Sugar Weasel, www.sugarweasel.com

Best Triple-E Car Repair
Kerry McKesson, Precision Tune Auto Care

Triple E: efficient, economical, and entertaining. Kerry McKesson at the Precision Tune Auto Care across from Half Price Books on North Lamar may look like any other grease monkey, but to sit in the surprisingly well-appointed waiting room of his shop is to watch a master at work: ordering parts, instructing mechanics, wading fearlessly through a constant blizzard of paperwork, and advising, teasing, or consoling the steady stream of customers. McKesson's got a carside manner like Dr. House's better-humored twin reborn as an ace mechanic, and he keeps the motors runnin'.

Precision Tune Auto Care, 5528 N. Lamar, 512/459-0728, www.precisiontune.com

Best Used Appliances and Repair
Zepeda Appliance & Repair

We first learned about these guys at a random stop at the 290 Flea Market, where they have an outlet set up every weekend. Their selection stopped us in our tracks, and we had to check out a few of their fridges (ours had used up most of its lifelines and we were due for a new, gently used unit pretty quick). Turns out they have twice the stock up the road at Loyola and Manor. Also turns out that they clean, refurbish, and – unlike some other used appliance outlets – know these appliances inside and out. In our case, the same gent who sold us the unit installed it and came back to service it when it needed a tweak. We are sold on Zepeda. We've done our time and made the rounds of local used appliance warehouses. We've found guys we can trust.

Zepeda Appliances, 4700 Loyola, 512/926-1803

Best Vajazzling
Wax That!

Even with your pants at your ankles, Lorie Young and her staff will make you feel right at home in her Wax That! studio. She specializes in 15-minute Brazilians, but for those wanting a special adornment to surprise their significant others, she has quite the selection of Swarovski crystal patterns for your special lady parts. You can lead your lover to the treasure, marked by a star, or maybe get a firework burst vajazzled on for the big bang. Maybe a butterfly for your butterfly? An angel for your halo? Vajazzle away, rhinestone cowgirl.

Wax That!, 2900 S. Congress #109, 512/789-8019, www.waxthataustin.com

Best Vet Clinic and Pet Accommodation
Hometown Animal Care

Picture all the love and comfort of your grandma’s home mixed with a vet clinic. The extremely attentive staff of Hometown Animal Care may not be stuffing you with snickerdoodles and warm milk, or bugging you to pull up your pants as soon as you enter their doors – but they do provide a healthy dose of TLC for your furry friends. And if you ever feel like taking a break from the city, kitty, cats are welcome to shack up in their kitschy and luxurious boarding house, complete with miniature beds and chaise lounges!

Hometown Animal Care, 1001 FM 685, Pflugerville, 512/251-2242, www.hometownanimalcare.com

Best Way to Pay a Fine
Austin Municipal Court – Manchaca

photo by Jana Birchum

Laid-back just like the part of town it serves, the Municipal Court South Austin Substation on Manchaca offers a much easier avenue for paying those pesky traffic tickets. It’s tucked away in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center on the Thrift Town side. Plenty of parking lets you get in and out with none of the fuss and long lines of its Downtown counterpart.

Austin Municipal Court Manchaca, 5700 Manchaca, 512/974-4800, www.austintexas.gov

Best Way to Save Your Honey
Central Texas Bee Rescue

photo by Sandy Carson

Austin's Bee Czar, Walter Schumacher, runs the CTBR (which operates under the nonprofit American Honey Bee Protection Agency) and gives honey bees a fighting chance through humane rescue and relocation. The king bee and his colony of workers give the extracted bees love and sanctuary, facilitate harvests of honey and bee pollen to make super sweet local products, and offer public education on the plight of the honey bees. Naturally, in the unnatural world of mass honey bee deaths and disappearances, our hometown hive has a viable, tattooed alternative to extermination. Rescuing honey bees, Central Texans (“emergencies take precedence!"), and the ecological balance of the planet are just all in a day's work for Central Texas Bee Rescue.

Central Texas Bee Rescue, 512/914-0123, www.honeybeekind.com/

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