GRADE A Whether little brother’s going off to Dartmouth, the neighbor’s child is entering Lamplighter or you’re making plans to take a continuing education course at Richland, there’s not a person in the city who doesn’t know someone who’s going back to school this month. And it doesn’t take a Phi Beta Kappa to figure out that educational (as well as office) pursuits are most successful when organization is the principal foundation. Little ones will delight in keeping their “colors” together in the crayon-shaped tin ($1.95), and older scholars will find the pleated plastic carryall case ($4.95) useful for carting texts from class to class. Whether you’re studying the ABCs, art history or auto maintenance, you’re sure to find something at The Container Store to help you make the grade. At The Container Store, 6067 Forest Lane, 386-5054. 6131 Campbell Road, 248-0981. 3060 Mockingbird, 373-7044. Mon-Fri 9:30-8, Sat 9:30-6.

TASTY TREATS who among us cannot confess to yielding to the persuasive call of a pastry cart-only to feel, after having eaten that criminal confection, that it was really too sugary to satisfy? For those who possess a sweet tooth with limits, here’s an after-meal treat that will more than gratify without leaving the taste of guilt in your mouth. Made with wheat flour and topped with just a touch of sugar, these feathery-light lady’s fingers imported from France-called “Boudoirs’-are the perfect accompaniment to mid-afternoon tea or an after-dinner liqueur. (It’s said that the French-those bons vivants-eat these with champagne.) The pretty, art nouveau-inspired tin that packages 14 ounces of these biscuits makes Boudoirs a wonderful gift-the tin itself is perfect for preserving cherished letters or keepsakes-but be forewarned: After sampling just one of these thin sponge fingers, you’ll want to keep a slock on hand for yourself They’re $7.50 at Neuhaus Chocolates, 427 NorthPark. Mon-Fri 10-9, Sat 10-6:15. 691-9156.1235 Galleria. Mon-Thur 10-9. Fri 10-10, Sat 10-9, Sun 12:30-5. 392-0281.

STRAP HAPPY A bright pocket square, an unusual tie-for the man who’s longed to upscale his wardrobe accents, the choices have been rather predictable until now. Here’s an old male standard with a twist-suspenders, made in Italy out of fine, richly colored Havana-brown snake skin. They’re elegant enough for the man with classical leanings, distinctive enough for the man who likes to stand out in a crowd. One thing’s certain: Wearing these will get you no ticed. Created by Peter Barton, an American designer who makes clothes that are stylish yet casual, the suspenders are part of the premiere of the Barton collection (which also can be found in the chic Henri Bendel’s boutique in New York City) to be exclusively carried in Dallas beginning this fall. The suspenders are S70 at Ar-resta. 3900 Cedar Springs. Mon-Sat 10-10. Sun noon-6. 528-3380.

PHONE HOME We bemoan it, bless it, slam it, cradle it. Executives make big-dollar deals over it; close friends whisper secrets into it; adolescent girls wait beside it. It, of course, is the telephone; and modern civilization wouldn’t function without it. We’ve all seen states in the telephone’s evolution, but this model is truly state-of-the-art. American Bell has just introduced the “Genesis” Telesystem, and this console is computerized-with such futuristic features as a touch-sensitive keypad and a display screen that gives you the time, date and number dialed. What makes this system special is its ability to be individualized to meet your specific needs. Diverse functions that expand the use of your phone are added by purchasing separate cartridges. Tired of trying to get past the busy signal to your friend Eva? With the deluxe auto dialer cartridge, the phone will automatically dial the number up to 10 times at intervals you select. “Phoning home” will never be the same. The console is $399-95; each additional cartridge is $39-95. At American Bell Phone Centers at Prestonwood Town Center, 387-0716; Red Bird Mall, 296-5850; and Town East Mall, 681-3986. Also available at selected Sears stores.

PACK IT UP Surely we’re never more inspired than when we encounter that rare person who can turn even the most mundane event into a special occasion. It’s an attention to detail, a flair for discovering beauty in things that are often overlooked. In keeping with this spirit, Pierre Deux offers everyday items covered in captivating, vibrant print fabrics faithful to 17th- and 18th-century French patterns, turning ordinary into extraordinaire. Pictured here is an escam-padou ($75), a graceful satchel perfect for the upcoming football weekends or any type of autumn excursion. Lightweight and roomy, the bags come in different sizes and may be custom-ordered in various prints and borders. At Pierre Deux, 80 Highland Park Shopping Village. Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-5. 528-5830.

WORLDS APART Those who may dismiss a string of beads as belonging to a bygone era of hatpins, tea cakes and yellowing lace, think again. Beads are back; but you won’t find this whimsical necklace on Auntie Louise. You’ll be charting new fashion territory with beads that are out of this world. Sure attention-getters, this jaunty choker ($9.95) and matching earrings ($6.95) are for the woman who believes that panache playful. At The Artifactory, 1122 Preston Royal Plaza. Mon-Sat 10-6. 363-7360. 3014 Greenville. Mon 10-6, Tue-Fri 10-9, Sat 10-6. 823-4422.

HOT SPOT Here’s a hot little item sure to give Java junkies cause to rejoice: an automatic, desk-top coffee cup warmer. Complete with a wide ceramic mug (colors include royal blue, burgundy and cream), “The Cup Cake” is a space-saving magnetic base with an electric heater inside-assuring connoisseurs of lifting a steaming, savory cup of coffee to their lips not only the first time, but every time. Caffeine conscious? The warmer’s just as useful for tea, hot chocolate-even instant soups. Whether you’re a busy professional or an exam-inundated student feeling the heat, this little warmer won’t leave you cold. It’s $22.25 at Coffee Ltd., 5315 Greenville. Mon-Fri 10-6:30. Sat 9:30-6. 369-4882.


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