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The “B” List

Beth’s “A-List” Favorites for All Things Essential

Whether you’re new to town or sim­ply want the inside “scoop” on the best places for the best ser­vices and essen­tials, you turn to a trusted friend for advice. Ah, the power of “word of mouth.”

Over the years, sev­eral friends have asked me what my favorite places are for this and that—who to go to for the best deep tis­sue mas­sage, where’s the coolest store to shop for cut­ting edge style com­bined with high qual­ity, who in the world is the best dog walker in the area? I’ve decided to share some of my insights here, as I’ve remained loyal to these peo­ple and places for a reason—they’re sim­ply the “A-listers” in my book, so read on to learn more.

Eats and Treats

La Cam­pa­nia
(www.lacampania.com), my favorite Ital­ian restau­rant located on Main Street in Waltham, MA con­sis­tently serves the most delec­table and authen­tic Ital­ian cui­sine, cou­pled with impec­ca­ble ser­vice. Through­out the sum­mer months, choose the out­door ter­race for din­ing, with its vine cov­ered trel­lises and tea lights that will def­i­nitely remind you of the old country.

Cof­fee Shop
Que­brada Bak­ery
, with loca­tions in Welles­ley, Arling­ton, and Bel­mont, MA (www.quebradabakingco.com) has the best cof­fee in the area, along with deli­cious home­made scones and numer­ous other baked goods. It’s also one of the hottest gath­er­ing places for early morn­ing meet­ings and socialization.

Retail Ther­apy
Located in Fal­mouth, MA on Cape Cod, Maxwell & Co. (shop.maxwellandco.com) is worth the drive if you’re seek­ing unri­valed col­lec­tions for both men and women, and pur­vey­ors of unique brands from around the world. In addi­tion to the excep­tional array of cloth­ing and accessories—from casual wear to couture—the own­ers Dan and Lori Maxwell and their staff, are knowl­edge­able, warm and atten­tive to their customers.


By far, the finest hair styl­ist I’ve known and used for many years is Denise McClel­lan at Daryl Christo­pher, with its newest loca­tion in Waltham, MA (www.dchristopher.com). Denise is a mas­ter styl­ist at the salon, pro­vid­ing the best ker­atin treat­ment, color, cut and blow dry­ing tech­niques that I’ve ever expe­ri­enced and have earned her acco­lades from her loyal clientele.

Facial and Mas­sage
Gerta Paul
, with her pri­vate stu­dio at 48 River Street, Suite 100R, in Welles­ley, MA has mag­i­cal hands that can trans­form even the tens­est client into a relaxed and reju­ve­nated “pud­dle” by the time she’s fin­ished. With a serene atmos­phere and her sooth­ing touches—such as warm tow­els and hot stones—Gerta uses the finest prod­ucts from France to ensure glow­ing results. When you’re ready for the midas touch, give her a call at: (978) 996‑2700.

Spa Retreat
Since open­ing its doors in 1958, the Golden Door (www.goldendoor.com) remains “the orig­i­nal lux­ury spa retreat.” Located in beau­ti­ful Escon­dido, CA, it’s well worth the trip if you’re seek­ing the finest spa expe­ri­ence imag­in­able. Focus­ing on bal­anc­ing mind, body and spirit through its inno­v­a­tive approach to health and fit­ness, an indi­vid­u­al­ized pro­gram is devel­oped for each guest for max­i­mum ben­e­fit and results. Sur­rounded by lux­u­ri­ous ameni­ties and an unpar­al­leled com­mit­ment to ser­vice, the Golden Door pro­vides a tran­quil atmos­phere for the ulti­mate spa experience.

Make Up and Make Up Artist
Stu­dio 28 by Stacey Frasca
, located in Welles­ley, MA (www.staceyfrasca.com) is the one and only des­ti­na­tion for the finest make up appli­ca­tion using Stacey’s sig­na­ture prod­uct line. With over twenty years of expe­ri­ence in the busi­ness, Stacey con­tin­ues to beau­tify her long ros­ter of celebrity “A-listers” and mere mor­tals alike. Whether its make up appli­ca­tion for a wed­ding, photo shoot, pri­vate event or tele­vi­sion appear­ance, Stacey is a mas­ter at cre­at­ing gor­geous, flaw­less look­ing skin. Equally notable are her beauty prod­ucts that are avail­able for pur­chase at the stu­dio and online.

Nail Salon
L’Amanti Stu­dio
, located at 1280 Cen­tre Street in New­ton Cen­ter, MA, (617–244-5616) is a fam­ily owned and oper­ated busi­ness that’s well known for pro­vid­ing the best mani-pedi in the area. Helen has the most amaz­ing hands that gen­tly mas­sage your legs through­out your pedi­cure, while Kyle and Han­nah, are both metic­u­lous and knowl­edge­able about the lat­est prod­ucts and tech­niques of the trade. The salon is excep­tion­ally clean and is always a fun des­ti­na­tion for meet­ings friends.

Del­laria Day Spa (617–527-8155)
located in New­ton Cen­ter, MA (www.dellaria.com) is the place to go for the quick­est and best wax­ing around. Kash­mira is the highly skilled “queen” of the process and is always kind and gen­tle with her approach.

Nat­u­rally, I have a favorite per­fume for day­time and another for evening. My all time favorite to wear dur­ing the day is Un Jardin Sur Le Nil by Hèrmes. With green mango, grape­fruit, sycamore and frank­in­cense, this light mix­ture is sim­ply lovely.

For evenings, I pre­fer Hanae Mori Eau de Toi­lette, with its heady notes of berg­amot, jas­mine, musk and vanilla. It’s del­i­cate yet sensational.

YIKES!” is often the under­scored term or thought asso­ci­ated with jeans because the fit has to be just right to look great—not too low in the rise, not too loose or too tight—jeans you can really live in. I have finally found the per­fect match at National Jean Com­pany (www.njcboston.com). Made by AG (Adri­ano Gold­schmied), I love the fit of the “Stilt” jean style best. Avail­able in dif­fer­ent washes and col­ors, they’re purely a plea­sure to wear and look amaz­ing for nearly every occasion.

Dry Cleaner
dry clean­ers in Lin­den Square, Welles­ley, MA (www.herculesdrycleaners.com) is by far the best at remov­ing any sort of stain and over­all “best in show” in my opin­ion. With a clean and friendly envi­ron­ment, I know I’m always going to have my items ready on time and that they’ve been treated with the high­est level of care.

House of Costas
, located at 107 Elliot Street, New­ton, MA (617/965‑1991) is the place to go for alter­ations of any kind—from sim­ple hem­ming jobs to cus­tomized suits, Costas Xan­thopou­los is a mas­ter tai­lor. Estab­lished in 1974, House of Costas con­tin­ues to deliver fast, metic­u­lous and reli­able ser­vice with a smile.

Favorite New Acces­sory
The “Tribeca 7” handbag/clutch by Holly Cald­well (www.hollycaldwell.com). It’s not truly a wal­let, a hand­bag, or a clutch, but is a lit­tle bit of each. The great­est thing about the “Tribeca 7,” is that it holds EVERYTHING yet is so com­pact in size that it appears to be a wal­let or clutch. I think of it as my “Mary Pop­pins” bag, as peo­ple are always amazed when I unzip it to reveal all that it con­tains inside. While I cher­ish and own four of these divine pieces (yes, I love them that much!), my newest favorite is a cream-colored patent leather ver­sion, fresh for this season.

Nutri­tion­ist and Trainer
Dr. Tom Hal­ton pos­sesses the pin­na­cle of expe­ri­ence in both nutri­tional coun­sel­ing and per­sonal train­ing (www.drtomhalton.com). Hold­ing a Doc­tor of Sci­ence in Nutri­tion from Har­vard Uni­ver­sity and a Mas­ters Degree in both exer­cise sci­ence and human nutri­tion, Dr. Hal­ton is moti­vat­ing, intel­li­gent and knows all of the lat­est and great­est tech­niques for healthy weight loss and mor­ph­ing your lifestyle into one that you can live with to sup­port your hard work. He even makes house calls for your per­sonal train­ing sessions!


Favorite Movie The­ater
West New­ton Cin­ema
in West New­ton, MA (www.westnewtoncinema.com). I love this the­ater because it presents the finest for­eign, inde­pen­dent and crit­i­cally acclaimed films around. Its nos­tal­gic feel—complete with vel­vet cur­tains and swirling staircases—makes you feel like you’re at a pri­vate soirée or pre-screening event.

Get­ting There – My Favorite Car Ser­vice
Christo­pher Hadge, of Madi­son Trans­porta­tion, LLC in Bel­mont, MA, con­sis­tently deliv­ers timely trans­porta­tion via impec­ca­ble cars. He is per­son­able, reli­able and con­ser­v­a­tively priced, so give him a call at: (781) 760‑1928 when­ever you require a lift to any destination.

To Give and to Get

Favorite Host­ess Gift
Can­dles are always a lovely gift for any occa­sion. My favorite is “pump­kin chai” by Nest (www.candleluxury.com), a blend of wild pump­kin, spicy masala chai, car­damom, gin­ger and cin­na­mon. Beau­ti­fully housed in brown translu­cent glass with orange wax, and wrapped in a lovely box with the brand’s sig­na­ture stripe, it’s a gift that will be mem­o­rable and used. But this par­tic­u­lar can­dle is pro­duced in lim­ited quan­ti­ties dur­ing this sea­son and sells out quickly so stock up on them now!

Favorite Wine Store
Lower Falls Wine Com­pany
is the finest in the area, bar none (www.lowerfallswine.com). Fea­tur­ing extra­or­di­nary wine tast­ings with guest vint­ners from around the world, home deliv­er­ies, and an incred­i­bly knowl­edge­able and pleas­ant staff, there’s some­thing here for every­one here.

Favorite Sta­tioner and Per­son­al­ized Gifts
Toby Dondis, Ltd.
of Waban, MA (www.tobydondis.com) car­ries a wide range of cre­ative per­son­al­ized gifts and fine sta­tionery for all occasions—from children’s notes pads to high-end busi­ness sta­tionery, Toby has it all. With her highly atten­tive demeanor and vast indus­try knowl­edge, she can eas­ily assist with the most demand­ing or unique requests.

Favorite Con­sign­ment Shop
(www.foundsomerville.com), the new and fab­u­lous upscale con­sign­ment bou­tique in Somerville, MA, is a new favorite for many reasons—gorgeous, high-end cloth­ing to buy and sell, cou­pled with a won­der­ful and knowl­edge­able staff to work with. For added con­ve­nience, they come to your home to pick up your items that you wish to con­sign, and are extremely fair with their pric­ing of your gen­tly used items.


Favorite Dog Walk­ing Ser­vice
Deca­dent Dog
(www.decadentdog.com) is the ulti­mate in pre­mium canine and feline care with a strong focus on walk­ing, hik­ing, pet sit­ting and board­ing of your beloved furry mem­ber of the fam­ily. Julie and Sarah have been my favorite dog walk­ers for my 85 pound Bernese, Riley, for many years, and I can­not pro­vide a stronger endorse­ment for Robert Nager, Founder and “Top Dog” of this delight­ful company.

Favorite Dog Park
Cen­ten­nial Park
in Welles­ley Hills, MA is a fab­u­lous space for dogs to run freely and “leash-free” if your pooch responds well to voice com­mands. This 42-acre expanse of trails, fields and a beau­ti­ful pond area is truly a dog’s par­adise. Addi­tion­ally, it’s the best place for dog own­ers to social­ize with one another and to equally enjoy the experience.


Beth Miller


  • 'Loved this, Beth. Only wish I lived closer.... I did forward this to an old friend who has recently moved to your area. 'Will have to make an introduction one of these days. Hope all is well. XO, I

    • Bethie, Love this blog - wish you could write one for Westport! xo, Lizzie

  • Beth, I'm blushing after reading your kind words about Decadent Dog! I appreciate the personal recognition as well, however, Sarah and Julie truly deserve all of your praise. They approach their tasks with love, honesty and an extraordinary attention to detail. They're there despite rain, snow, freezing cold or sweltering heat to make sure Riley gets exercise and lots of belly rubs. I am grateful for your loyalty and continued support over the years. I never dreamed when I was back in my "suit & tie" days that it was possible to have clients like you. Please give smooches to my RyRy from uncle Robbie! rsn

  • Fantastic tips! You are the go-to person when I want to find something and or know where to go. Thanks for publishing this blog for all of us!!

  • Beth.....your list is better than Oprah's! Thanks for sharing. You are the best.

  • Beth, I love the B List! Added it to my favorites for quick retrieval in the future. Thanks for thinking of this!~ Eleanor

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