Best of Denver®

Best Of 2012

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best RiNo Boutique
MegaFauna

When it opened last spring, a door away from the Meadowlark, MegaFauna announced itself to be "a soapbox for those who have grown weary of the corporate brand." And to its credit, the crew of local cheerleaders behind the RiNo boutique have stuck to their guns by showcasing Denver designers, artists and screen-printers. Dreamed up (with help from the Meadowlark's Loy Merck, who owns the building) by Rob Bell and John McCaskill of DeRailed Ink, a small T-shirt studio, the store is casual in vibe and in particular specializes in reasonably priced hand-run posters and clothing (including DeRailed Ink's in-house screened Broncos tees). Also represented are unique Denver designers — clothing by Havea Lolo and beautiful repurposed furniture and lamp shades by Jeanne Connolly's Vintage Renewal — plus jewelry and JammyPack speaker bags. Given its location, MegaFauna strives to be something like a general store of old, only one that sells something slightly different from bulk flour and yards of calico. Instead, it provides essential art and design for a new generation of urban dwellers.

3102 Blake St., Denver, 80205
MAP
720-982-8049
Best "Baked" Baked Goods

An icon of Colorado's medical marijuana scene, Twirling Hippy Confections owner Jessica LeRoux was baking and selling her special cheesecakes and developing a following years before the medical marijuana industry took hold. But even with the transition to a commercial kitchen, her recipes are still some of the most delicious around. Her seasonal cheesecakes — like pumpkin pie around Halloween and Palisade Peach in August — have become fan favorites, but we love the simplicity of her traditional chocolate-and-caramel turtles, dubbed "Terrapins."

Best All-in-One Boutique
Fast Geek Boutique

Clothing designer Tina Joliffe and artist Vincent "Cheap" Fasano needed a place where they could combine their eclectic interests under one roof. They found it in Fast Geek Boutique, where Joliffe's cute frocks and Fasano's outsider art are both part of the decor, along with a mélange of accessories and sewing supplies. That alone would seem enough to fill the boutique's close quarters, but there's more: books and zines from Fast Geek Press (including poetry by Vincent's twin brother, Charly), cassette tapes by Analog Empire, artwork by found-object assemblage artist Heretik and local-music recordings from Suburban Home Records. And if that's not enough for you, Fast Geek also now houses 2011 Best of Denver winner eyeLAB, an eyeglass service offering trendy prescription eyewear on a sliding-scale basis. Now, swallow your shrinking pill like a good little Alice and walk in the door.

321 W. 11th Ave., Denver, 80204
MAP
970-310-8610
Best Animal-Spirit Psychic

No matter where you rank psychics on the bullshit scale, local spirit-charmer Lawrence Woodson is good for an afternoon of personal reflection. With a family history in the business and sixteen years of experience on his own, Woodson moves past the crystal-ball shtick and into therapy territory by using his clients' personalities and histories to reinterpret them in the animal kingdom. Incense, deep conversation and lots of shut-eyed imagination all feature in his $45 attempts to match people with their animals. Woodson himself is a coyote, while members of the military, he says, are often chimpanzees. In rare cases, it's possible to have two animal spirits, but don't worry: Woodson doesn't charge extra.

Best Baby Talk

A collaboration of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy and Rocky Mountain PBS, this website offers video clips that show parents how to introduce songs, rhymes and "fingerplays" that will help stimulate and educate their offspring. There are different levels of pre-reading skills involved, targeting pre-schoolers, toddlers or swaddlers. It's a great way to get your rugrat building a vocabulary for that long journey to graduate school.

Best Boulder DIY Incubator
FACTORY | made, Boulder

FACTORY | made divides and conquers: On one hand, it's a buyer's showcase for mostly local designers and independent manufacturers of furniture, body products, jewelry and accessories, stationery, clothing and just about anything freshly made by hand on the Front Range. On the other, it's a creative lab that provides tools and materials, fabrication space and production resources for sound, video and graphics, as well as networking and instruction opportunities for growing cottage industries. A living, breathing amalgam, FACTORY | made serves as a model of the future, encouraging discourse, creativity and community for people who might previously have worked alone or on the fringe.

2000 21st St., Boulder, 80302-4501
MAP
303-927-0802
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Best RiNo Boutique: MegaFauna

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