It's hard to make a shopping list when you're heading for Big Lots. The inventory changes every week, which means you're likely to find a garden hose where a bag of kitty litter once sat, a can of sardines in place of boxed tea. But as any dedicated bargain hunter knows, the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun. What's more exhilarating than scoring a jumbo-sized tin of Danish butter cookies for $1.50 or a set of wineglasses for less than the cost of a bottle of Blue Nun? As unpredictable as the merchandise is, the deals are consistently jaw-dropping, making Big Lots the perfect place to purchase inexpensive kitchen and bath items, party supplies, decorations and even canned and dry foods. A gem for college students and bean counters alike.


Designer Kelly Cannon only recently moved from a ten-by-ten-foot retail space in Cherry Creek North to a spacious corner shop on Antique Row, but she's already filling it to the rafters. Pink Zebra spills over with her frothy feather-boa pillows, bed linens and throws that pair rich tapestry fabrics with bead and feather embellishments. In addition to Cannon's own creations, the expanded Zebra displays a growing stock of furniture and flourishes -- and unmistakable whimsy. But perhaps the biggest news is the store's co-existence with all of the purely vintage shops that line Antique Row. New merchandise to blend with the old -- a taste of things to come? Watch South Broadway morph before your eyes.


You could spend weeks at Yankee Trader and still not see everything, so you've really got to go there with some idea of what you're going to look at. We chose the Trader's cross-cultural toy gallery. Not only is it impressive from a collector's point of view, but it provides some of the most fascinating and fun looking in town. Even the most average Joe will get a kick out of the metal trucks and cars in varying degrees of decay that line the walls. Elsewhere on the floor, glass cases house a corral full of high-stepping Breyer horses, various Robby the Robot models and vintage Halloween memorabilia. There's even a box full of original Topps Garbage Pail Kids cards that somehow managed to survive past the '80s. Whether you're looking to buy a rare treasure or relive your last few childhoods, Yankee Trader's dandy.
The handbag is an objet d'art at Babareeba, a veritable time capsule of all things stylish from the '40s, '50s and '60s. They've got handbags in crocodile, metal and straw; handbags in pink, black and multi-colored tapestry; handbags big and handbags small. To complete the outfit, Babareeba sells fur-collared grandma coats, cashmere cardigans and shoes, shoes, shoes. All of the pieces are secondhand, but they look as good as new. Stepping into the store, a jewel of the Highland shopping district, is like going back to a kinder, gentler, more fashionable time.


Ancient Frigidaires may look cool, but that doesn't make them practical. They're too

small, they need constant defrosting, and they often just don't work at all. Fortunately, it's possible to remain retro without sacrificing modern technology. Sweet Potato is an outlet for Northstar refrigerators, roomy coolers fitted with up-to-the-minute shelving, optional icemakers and energy-saving mechanics. But it's the outsides of these babies that will blow you away, especially the hot-rod colors -- Flamingo Pink, Robin's-Egg Blue, Buttercup Yellow and Candy Red, among others. The cool machines are also stamped with a chrome logo reminiscent of the vintage Chrysler emblem. The only things missing are the fins. Get ready to rev up your kitchen.

Everything old is new again at She-She, a great place to get your wardrobe up to date -- or is that back to date? We're not talking bellbottoms and platform shoes here. The store's owner, Crystal Sharp, makes custom Victorian-style dresses and sells vintage handbags, gloves, hats and costume jewelry from smart decades pre-dating the '70s. Think Scarlett O'Hara. Think Coco Chanel. Think Audrey Hepburn. Just don't think about driving by without going in.


Remember roller skates -- four wheels on a boot sole, one in each corner, with a sturdy toe bumper? They're scarcer than typewriters these days, but Sports Plus is stocked to get you rollin'. In addition to used roller skates, the South Gaylord consignment shop boasts some of the best prices in town on all kinds of pre-owned sports gear. Prices on children's goods are especially reasonable, which make shopping for active, growing kids a little less painful. The store, which also sells (and services) new equipment along with clothing and shoes, is the perfect place to find everything from this summer's bike to next winter's skis. And guess what? When Junior outgrows his new used soccer shoes next fall, you can bring 'em in and sell 'em back. May the cycle be unbroken.


Mom, we know you want to toss them in the trash, but just hold your horses (and your nose) and listen up: Old sneakers can be recycled into a resurfacing material used at athletic facilities and playgrounds. It doesn't matter what they smell like; ChaRM will pulverize them and turn them into something useful, free of charge. There are some guidelines: Shoes with metal cleats, zippers or spikes or covered in mud won't make the cut. And if they look like they might have a chance at a second life, the folks at ChaRM suggest giving them to one of several local athletic-shoe stores participating in the Shoes for Africa donation program. Phew. What a relief.


Loft living is still the rage in Denver, and Paris Loft is keeping all those tony abodes supplied with an abundance of style and romance. When co-owners Kim Burney and Maria Fair opened their brick-walled home store last year, they stocked it with classics both modern and retro, then mashed it all together. The combination gives the place the feel of a hip granny's attic. Here you'll find color-washed Leonardo Swing drinking glasses paired with antique tin canisters, be-ribboned black Scottie-dog soaps, a bright-red wine bar masquerading as a British phone booth, cigar-box handbags, tapestry lampshades and satin pillow frames ringed with a poofy feather fringe, for starters. Listen, loft-dwellers, they're speaking your language.


Does size matter? When you're trying to furnish a 5,000-square-foot loft with three-story ceilings and still retain some of its drama, we'd have to say it does. Trouble is, there just aren't that many places where you can just pick up a ten-ton marble fireplace surround or a sculpted stone ram the size of an elephant. But at Belcour, you can. Not everything stashed in this spacious retail warehouse of decorative antique folderol (some dating back to the seventeenth century) requires a crane to be carried out -- but every piece carries the weight of Old World elegance.


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