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.

Denver Bookbinding Company
This family-owned company in the Highland neighborhood has brought new life to old books since 1929. Not only will Denver Bookbinding recover old volumes and bind new manuscripts, but it can also create custom-designed journals and blank books. Since 1972, the shop has been run by the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of founder Axel Erslund; no doubt the family has a pretty sizeable scrapbook of its own.

Capitol Hill Books
When you buy used books, you never know what you're going to find. The staff at Capitol Hill Books has been finding things tucked away in used books for at least two decades, and the store's Ephemera Wall of Fame is an entertaining, sometimes poignant display of long-forgotten news clippings, ticket stubs, prayer cards, photos, postcards, pressed flowers and the like. If it makes a good bookmark, it will eventually find its way to Capitol Hill.

Best Party Product -- Professional Division

Party Mitt

It's tough to shmooze and booze with a buffet plate in your hand. The Party Mitt lets you hold drinks and snacks in one hand while grinnin' and grippin' with the other. Made of disposable plastic with a thumb-shaped recess that works for lefties or righties, the Mitt is the answer to a hungry partyer's prayers. Sadly, so far it's available only to caterers, at 35 cents apiece with a minimum order of 100.

Good things come in small packages. For a real taste of Denver's changing scene, visit a tiny enclave just north of St. Joseph's Hospital. Spearheaded by West City Perk, a combination coffee joint and garage-sale-cum-antique-boutique, this row of shops is still home to less trendy businesses as well, including an old-fashioned barber shop where the neighborhood folks continue to get haircuts and trade tales. But West City Perk, its newly opened adjunct deli and its compatible tenant to the west, a garden-themed shabby-chic nook called Loganberry's, give the block an updated look -- albeit a lived-in one that's not too ritzy or glitzy for the surrounding neighborhood. Stop and shop.
Want to tie up your kids for a couple of hours? Bead It is a real pearl, an entertaining oasis in the suburban wasteland of expensive, pre-packaged fun. The array of artistic beading possibilities is so intriguing, in fact, that adults are likely to take on their own projects, too. With a private room available for birthday parties -- as well as a package deal for those who'd like to keep the little ones busy beading at home -- Bead It delivers the goods. You just have to string them along.

Self-confessed compulsive collector Judy White says she ran out of room for all the objets and jewelry she'd amassed in her own quarters, so she decided to share the wealth: The result is Eccentricals, an antiques emporium flaunting "the best of all decades" and doing so with an unfettered lack of reserve that's totally refreshing. Part jungle safari and part trip down the Yellow Brick Road, a wander through Eccentricals unearths all manner of campy treasures: tiger portraits, an old set of Heller anodized aluminum pitcher and glasses, etched flamingo mirrors and trays, black leopard lamps, Dior lipsticks and gallon bottles of Chanel No. 5 -- you name it. There are amazing handbags: Hand-painted wooden ones decorated with cardinals or roses, Lucite totes and shimmery silk purses, beaded bags and even Kristin Easthope's lunchboxes hand-painted with tropical babes and devil women. But the crowning glory of the place is the jewelry, both old and new: stunning rhinestone collars that drip across the bust like Christmas lights, dice necklaces, jangly charm bracelets, art-deco treasures, Indian silver and much more, all judiciously arranged in glass cases that snake around the store, which is draped with burnout velvet Buddha scarves and the like.
This small, stylish retro boutique is a welcome alternative to the pricey stores farther down Broadway on Antique Row. Decade always has a reasonably priced selection of antique armoires, vanities, couches and chairs; you may also find 1950s- and '60s-era dinette sets. And that's just the furniture stocked at Decade. The store also has authentic and reproduction homeware from decades past, including deco-style kitchen clocks, vases, pillows and lamps -- everything you need to dress up your home. Venturing into the back of the store -- with its assortment of vintage faux fur-collared coats, snap-shut purses and white gloves -- is like visiting grandma's closest, but Decade stocks plenty of hip, new attire too. The store's inventory changes frequently -- giving you a good excuse to go there often.

Best Thing About FlatIron Crossing That Doesn't Involve Shopping

Waterfall and gardens

If shopping isn't your thing and you find yourself forced to spend the day here, take solace in FlatIron's lovely waterfall and adjacent garden. Intended to replicate a mountain meadow, this area on the mall's north side is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or soak up some sun. The waterfall is so large and soothingly noisy, you may even forget you're next to acres of free parking.

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