When it comes to handling your needs, there are plenty of local professionals ready to help. Plus, a few DIY classes to promote you to expert status
Dogs in Motion owner Elle Palmer
All dog lovers know there's nothing worse than the sad look your pup gives you as you leave for a long day of work. Want to assuage your guilty conscience? Call Dogs in Motion owner Elle Palmer. Her love of all animals fueled her to start a dog-walking business six and a half years ago, and her clients -- both of the canine and human variety -- adore her. Palmer can take your pooch on a “potty stop” (ten minutes for $10) or a midday “exercise session” (starting at $25). Palmer also offers a pet-sitting service, which includes three to four visits a day to ensure your pets' needs are taken care of. 704-906-6646
Is your fluffy pups' outerwear in desper- ate need of some TLC? Bark Street Dog Spa has your canines' needs covered with its excellent full-service professional pet styling. All-natural shampoos and conditioners, a friendly dog-loving staff, and organic dog treats make Bark Street the crème de la crème of the city's dog groomers. If you're looking for a more economical option for your pooch, the Dilworth favorite also offers a self-service option with all of your little best friends' bathing necessities starting at $14. Prices for grooming are based on size of dog. 9390 Park Rd., 704-525-9998
Great shoes are too expensive -- and too hard to find -- to toss after a little wear and tear. With expert cobblers and a variety of soles and shines, Belk Shoe Repair at SouthPark can make even the oldest shoe look (almost) new again. Give those winter boots some spring in their step with new soles and shine for $42. And whether you're a Christian Louboutin lover or just want an extra kick of color on your soles, the repair shop will resole your beloved pumps with a red rubber bottom, almost identical to the original, for only $18.
Cleaners for Couture
All the things you love about your favorite gown -- sequins, beads, embellishments, and lace -- need some special attention when it comes time for cleaning. At Midwood Cleaners in Plaza Midwood they're refreshed, steamed, and preserved by helpful in-house specialists for couture. Looking to give those hard- to-clean home items a fresh boost? This top cleaning facility also specializes in laundering expensive home décor like down comforters, small rugs, and home draperies. Prices vary upon consultation. 2306 Central Ave., 704-376-5323
Old-fashioned Bike Shop
Being a small shop doesn't stop The Bike Gallery in Dilworth from having Charlotte's best -- and friendliest -- bike repair team in town. Whether you're a biking beginner hoping to get your chains tweaked in time for the warm weather or a road warrior looking for the latest in sophisticated biking gear, you'll feel welcome here. The staff, while not intimidating, knows their stuff, and repairs here are fast, reliable, and always reasonably priced.
2500 Park Rd., 704-332-2165
Bouquets for the Price
Forget grocery store flowers and prepackaged floral arrangements; at the Kings Drive Farmers Market you can find fresh bouquets for $10 to $20. On summer Saturday mornings you'll find bridal parties purchasing fresh bouquets and Myers Park hostesses choosing lavish dinner party sprays. With oversize buckets stuffed with fragrant peonies, roses, lilies, and more, you can get creative with your own arrangement for some serious bargain prices. The market is open April through October. 926 S. Kings Dr.
Since Justin Ritchie, Justin Ruckman, and Matthew Tyndall launched CLT Blog in November 2007, much has changed in Charlotte -- and the ever-evolving blog has been following it all. The team of writers, videographers, and photographers behind the site post information and images of Charlotte faster than many of the city's major news outlets. Like most blogs, this one is a mix of commentary and fact, which makes it both informative and fun to read. And after a recent redesign, the site is packed with even more content and easy for even the biggest blog novice to navigate.
With an entire wall packed with the finest paper and ribbon, Paper Twist at Specialty Shops on the Park guarantees that your present will stand out on any gift table. The small, bright shop offers colorful wraps and tissue, all ready to be expertly wrapped by one of the staff and trimmed with stylish ribbon. If your gift is purchased at Paper Twist, the wrapping is complimentary, otherwise it is based on the size of the package, start- ing at $5. Want a cute card to go with your stylish gift? Paper Twist also offers more than 300 humorous and sweet greeting cards. 6401 Morrison Blvd., 704-366-3100
The team of tailors at Anna's Alterations can take in a hem in just a few hours. Give them a few days and you can have the designer look you covet re-created to fit and flatter your figure to perfection. Tucked away in a Dilworth shopping center, a team of in-house tailors take care of everything and for low prices -- $14 to take in jeans or $8 to adjust a hemline. 2400 Park Rd., 704-348-5488