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2016CriticsServices

Best Biker With a Law Degree
Lenore Shefman

photo by Todd V. Wolfson

If we're ever in need of a personal injury lawyer, we know who we're rolling with. Lenore Shefman of Cyclistlaw not only talks the talk, but walks the walk as an "unapologetic beast of a litigator," a fixture and friend of the Austin bike scene, and a fierce advocate for countless victims of bike/pedestrian/vehicle collisions. Then she goes the extra mile, helping her clients recover emotionally as well as financially. Accidents are the unfortunate reality of being on the road with two legs or two wheels, but we feel much better knowing Shefman has a shoulder to the wheel.

Cyclistlaw: 1002 West Ave. #301, 512/386-8117, www.cyclistlaw.com

Best Community Healing
Neighborhood Acupuncture Project

We tried everything to rid ourselves of chronic insomnia, from prescription drugs to not-so-prescription drugs, but nothing ever seemed to work for the long run. But after a few sessions at the Neighborhood Acupuncture Project, we were sleeping like a baby. It seems the ancient practice still works for present-age anxieties. And with a sliding cost scale, there's no added stress about how you're going to pay.

1909 E. 38th 1/2, 512/473-8884, www.napaustin.org

Best Farmers' Market Photo Booth
VARU Photography at HOPE Farmers Market

photo by Devaki Knowles

Photo booths have evolved from private two-person boxes to open-air decorated sets able to accommodate even the most sizable of groups. So when HOPE Farmers Market added all the fixtures to capture you, your family, and your furry friends, it seemed only natural. Happy moments aren't meant to be captured in secrecy behind a curtain; they should be shared. And let's face it, there might not be a better prop out there than a bundle of carrots.

956/825-1191, www.fb.com/varuphoto

Best French Hairstylist
Thibault de Monterno at the Waterstone Salon

Ever seen a French woman with a bad haircut? Probably not, and there’s a reason: The French know best how to style hair to flatter the face (and bone structure) beneath it. French native and -trained Thibault de Monterno moved to NYC two decades ago, working there with the bold-face stylists featured in the glossies. But 15 years ago, he started visiting Austin and realized that here was the life he was missing. So now Tbo’s happily embedded at the wonderful, warm, and unpretentious Waterstone Salon. It’s a perfect fit, or a bon mariage, as they say over there.

3016 Guadalupe Ste. B-100, 512/373-7546, www.waterstonesalonatx.com

Best Furry Friend Finders
Austin Lost & Found Pets

Almost all of Austin is animal-friendly, but Austin Lost & Found Pets goes above and beyond. Stephanie Martens and her street team do extraordinary work to reunite lost pets with their families and educate the community about resources for your furry ones. Whether you're panicking about your missing Mastiff or you've found a wandering Weimaraner and don't have a clue what to do, ALFP is your first step for support, advice, and assistance.

www.fb.com/groups/austinlostandfoundpets

Best Gurus for Your Garden
Seedlings Gardening

photo by Jana Birchum

From makrut limes to flourishing flowers, Seedlings knows how to plant the plants that thrive in Austin's 325 days of summer. That surely has something to with the owner – native Austinite Liz Baloutine – who has seen Austin during both floods and drought. Sustainability isn't just a buzzword for the small staff at Seedlings, it's a raison d'être. We wouldn't trust anyone else with our landscape.

www.seedlingsgardening.com, 512/298-9396

Best Integrative Medicine Physician
Julie Reardon, MD

Please give us more of Dr. Julie Reardon’s newfangled medical practice! If you yearn for a family physician who offers more than four-and-a-half minutes and a script for antibiotics or steroids, this enlightened medical model is for you. An initial consultation with Dr. Reardon, Harvard-educated and a Fellow of Dr. Andrew Weil’s University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, might last 90 unrushed minutes. Nothing New Age-y here; the goal is a well-rounded health plan that combines the best of conventional medicine with the best complementary practices. And she returns calls and emails – promptly. Just try to imagine it.

1313 RR 620 S. #203, Lakeway, 512/850-6963, www.doctorjulie.com

Best Lifesaver
Hydrelief

photo by Jana Birchum

You know you've done it – drank that last whiskey & whisky because you thought the boy sitting in the corner might be giving you eyes. Even though you are giving a presentation the next day and your boss gave you side-eye when you said you had it covered. But they'll never suspect a thing if you get one of Hydrelief's IV infusion packages, full of medicine to help you with headaches, nausea, and heartburn, that erase your hangover in minutes. They may not be the cheapest hangover remedy, but they are surely the most effective. Now go get 'em, tiger!

512/640-3888, www.hydrelief.com

Best Motorcycle Repair Shop
Flash Motorbikes

Paying for a new clutch is never a cause to pop open the champagne, but we'd still like to share a beer with Flash Motorbikes owners Jeremy and Tiffany Wolf. Every time we visit, we learn something new about our bike. And their fair pricing and friendly conversation make you feel like you’re a regular – even if it’s your first time in the store.

6711 Burnet Ln., 512/433-6145, www.flashmotorbikes.com

Best No Sweat No A/C Eco House
The Main Stay by Matt Fajkus Architecture

Mixing indoor and outdoor elements – the entire living room opens up on a bright blue lap pool – MF Architecture's Main Stay House is certainly easy on the eyes. But it's also easy on the environment. The six-year-old firm's design embraces nature in a way that makes us wanna be outdoorsy from the moment we walk in the front door.

www.mfarchitecture.com

Best Old Friends
Classic Canines and Cats/Seniors Helping Seniors/PALS

Two legs or four, getting old is tough. Through Classic Canines and Cats, the Friends of Austin Animal Center make sure senior fuzzy buddies have somewhere and someone to cuddle in their golden years. Sometimes that forever home comes from an older human, so the AARP helps animal re-housings through Seniors Helping Seniors, while Meals on Wheels Austin provides free meals and vet care assistance for the pets of over 350 seniors through PALS (Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors). Who are good buddies? All of you!

PALS: www.mealsonwheelscentraltexas.org; Classic Canines and Cats: Friends of Austin Animal Center, www.friendsofaustinanimalcenter.com

Best Pet Bonding Experience
Bobbi Colorado's Canine Camp

photo by David Brendan Hall

Colorado made a name for herself by training cinematic creatures of all shapes and sizes for major movies including Secondhand Lions and Spy Kids. Then in 2003, she and husband Ken Beggs started Bobbi Colorado's Canine Camp, quickly becoming an Austin pet owner's Mecca. More than a decade later, it still has few peers in its dedication to obedience training and luxury boarding. Colorado and Beggs work miracles with the grumpiest greyhounds and the most spastic schnauzers, graduating star pupil after star pupil – even when the cameras are not rolling.

8929 Hwy. 290 W., 512/288-6928, www.coloradoscaninecamp.com

Best Replacement for Uber and Lyft
Ride Austin

When Uber and Lyft severed their ties with the city, plenty of transportation network companies came out of the woodwork, but only one was built specifically for locals by locals. Nonprofit Ride Austin operates with the community in mind, allowing its users to round up their fare to support Central Texas charities and recently adding a new "female-only mode." Paying attention to the rider as much as the driver, Ride Austin is the reason why the big guys packing up their wagons barely made a dent in our lives.

www.rideaustin.com

Best Time Warp
Marvelous Vintage Tea Party Co.

With a year filled with so many horrors, it's hard not to long for a more elegant time. Luckily, Sophie and her mad hatters are housed here and they're serving up more than just tea. Borrowing from the more classy (and sassy) decades of the Twenties through Fifties, these vintage-style soirees are absolutely marvelous.

512/765-5852, www.marveloustea.com

Best Toy $ Saver
Austin Toybrary

photo by Bret Brookshire

Ever wonder where exactly Buzz Lightyear's infinity and beyond was? We think the Space Ranger most likely meant Austin's Toybrary. This lending library houses the most spectacular array of dolls, Legos, games, and trinkets most adults don't realize exist – and the best part is it's all for rent! Take the toys home and bring them back before they end up lost under a bed and covered in dust.

2001 Justin Ln., 512/765-4174, www.toybraryaustin.com

Best Unexpected Beauty
Scrap Pile at Austin Metal & Iron Co., L.P.

photo by Todd V. Wolfson

If you've spent much time on the Eastside, you have probably noticed the extensive murals along the longstanding Austin Metal & Iron Co. If you've been lucky, you've seen the gates opened to the visual cacophony of glittering spikes and tumbling refuse of their scrap pile, lifted in massive, threatening heaps. It's thrilling and industrial, dramatic and, frankly, badass.

1000 E. Fourth, 512/477-4640, www.austinmetalandiron.net

Best Way to Mind Your Own Beeswax
Tara Chapman, Two Hives Honey

Austin didn’t know how much we needed micro-apiaries until Tara Chapman set up shop and started her beekeeping training courses and tours. Specializing in bees’ foraging patterns and Austinites’ curiosities, Two Hives provides a chance to build a sustainable skill set, and maybe even score some honey along the way.

www.twohiveshoney.com

Best Way to Raise Eyebrows
Leslie Sazon, Body Tonic Medical Spa

Science says eyebrows are the most important facial feature, so if you're working with 1995 Drew Barrymore arches, permanent makeup via microblading might just bring those window-to-the-soul treatments up to speed. This guru's superpower is mimicking individual hairs with precision, but she's got an arsenal of other techniques to enhance your natural you.

6836 Bee Caves Rd. #310, 512/383-5204, www.mybodytonic.com

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