The only thing I'll add: I often use the spot meter to check exposure on the important highlights, and I'll frequently underexpose a large portion of the image to preserve the highlights. I double-check my exposure settings post-shooting by looking at the highlights and seeing what is blown out.
In my case, I shoot a lot of dogs who have white muzzles with black masks, and dark fur overall. Seems like everybody just accepts the fact that those white muzzles are going to be blown out. Not me. With today's technology, I can expose with an eye towards preserving enough information in the highlights, and then bring up the rest of the image in post processing.