Maybe you're really bad at wrapping gifts. Maybe you hate to make the effort when most gift wrap goes straight into the trash. Or maybe you're just tired of having your storage closet overrun by rolls of half-used paper and shiny curlicue ribbons that you paid too much for in the first place. What you need is a trip to MacFrugal's, where among such oddities as plastic lambs and giant boxing gloves, you'll find tasteful, high-quality gift bags of every size and shape, for every occasion. And here's MacFrugal's gift to you: The average price per bag is just 69 cents.
When you need an industrial-strength sun hat, go where the UV is the strongest: Australia. The Wallaroo Hat Company did just that, and it now imports fun and fashionable wide-brimmed chapeaux made of sun-resistant materials. In fact, these babies are rated by the Australian Radiation Laboratory (yes, there is one) to block 97 percent of UV rays. In women's and children's styles, starting at $26, the hats are available at about two dozen retailers in the Denver area, including Mountain Miser and Monkey Doodles.

Before you go out for Sunday brunch, treat your canine companion to a Saturday buffet. Bubba & Ebonee's serves an all-you-can-snarf buffet for dogs every Saturday for $4.95. The handmade dog biscuits are baked fresh each day, and some dishes are certified organic. Cats can get a doggie bag of treats to go.
Once upon a time, if you wanted tortillas, there was only one place to get them: Grandma's kitchen. But now mass-produced tortillas line the grocery-store shelves, and Grandma has hung up her apron. Enter Charlotte Saenz. With a griddle in one hand and arolling pin in the other, she's teaching a new generation how to shake, rattle and roll. In a series of cooking classes offered through the Aurora recreation department, Saenz walks students through the basics of quesadillas, burritos and enchiladas. But first they must master the art of the flour tortilla. Students not only learn to make their own tortillas, they eat them, too. "Many of them get pretty good," Saenz says of her students. "One woman even came up to me and said, 'You saved my marriage.'"
Does your dog cower and hide when you pull out the old tin washtub? Are you tired of having to hose down the walls after treating Fido to a shampoo in your bathroom? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, hustle your pooch on down to Stinky Dog No More, a self-service, indoor dog laundry that features three elevated tubs and a tiled bay. For $10 (or $5 for small pooches), Stinky Dog provides everything you need to make a terrier tidier, including shampoo, conditioner, towels and blow dryers. The shop, located at the site of the old Cosmo's Dog Biscuit Bakery, also sells a full line of Cosmo treats.

Since 1916, people wanting to learn English as a second language have flocked to the big brick building at 13th and Welton downtown. Emily Griffith's philosophy of welcoming "all who wish to learn" lives on in more than 350 vocational and technical courses, including a dozen different English classes. How popular is this adult education arm of Denver Public Schools? Last year training was provided for more than 14,500 students from 128 countries, ranging in age from 17 to 87. And while a smile can say a lot, a well-articulated "thank you" also speaks volumes.
The joint venture of a Denver designer and a Chicago marketing strategist, Grow's greatest appeal is its wonderful simplicity -- the colorful, comfortable all-cotton daywear is durable, cute and easy to care for. Though the clothing, gently emblazoned with Verity Freebern's graphics, is available in Denver and Boulder at Applause and Rocky Mountain Kids and nationally in catalogues, Grow can also be purchased online at an incredibly user-friendly Web site. Once you've logged on, all you have to do is choose from a standard selection of styles, colors and designs (which include the popular "Sweet Pea" and "Little Monster"), mixing and matching in nearly endless, genderless configurations in sizes from 3 months to 6X/7. Whether you're sending something off quickly for a gift or ordering for your own little sweet pea, this is one alternative that really grows on you.

Don't be frightened: When you first walk into Gumballs after picking your way through a jungle of plastic trikes, wagons and other yard toys parked in front, it's a little bit frightening, like entering the remains of a trailer park ravaged by spring tornadoes. But step lightly over the shoes piled up in the aisles, and be brave: The stuff's there, at least what's in season, from frilly Easter dresses to swimsuits and leotards for little water babies and dancers. It's all used, accepted on a straight fifty-fifty consignment deal, and though it's tightly packed on the racks, there are plenty of clean and pressed treasures to be unearthed. Such as: sweet frocks from Baby Lulu and Biobottoms, an entire rack of secondhand Gymboree duds, Disney videos and a painted wooden Babar rocker that could be the centerpiece of any well-appointed nursery, all at prices well below what you'd pay for them new.

Best Place to Get a Trophy (or Huge Gavel) for Scoring Well

Colorado Badge and Trophy

Happen to be, say, an organizer of a stock show in need of official-looking "Participant" ribbons? Or need to impress a suddenly retiring Supreme Court justice with an engraved gavel bigger than his ego? Try Colorado Badge and Trophy, which since 1906 has been supplying the hardware that makes all those meaningful and inspirational moments in life last. From the tiny ribbons (about 30 cents apiece) to a big, honking walnut gavel ($450), you can get awards and promotions for just about everyone.

A division of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Voice Center is the only voice research laboratory in the world associated with a major performing arts organization. But the staff works with people throughout the community, not just professional actors. In addition to conducting research into everything speech-related, assisting Parkinson's patients and helping injured voices recover, the center offers an ongoing series of free public workshops that focus on presentation skills and enhancing voice production through posture and body awareness.

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