Louisville mom Terry Hsu-Gander shipped a little piece of China back home after visiting there and adopting two daughters. While picking up her girls, Hsu-Gander found the stylish children's shoes she now imports and sells under the Frog Prince label. She moves most of the merchandise through her website, with the help of a sister living in Shanghai. With feather-soft leather uppers that come in brilliant swathes of contrasting red, black, white, lime green and tangerine, these shoes practically scream "Adorable!" Available in toddler and little girls' sizes up to eleven, the Frogs are comfy and durable, appropriate for both dress and play. "My own kids grow out of them before they wear them out," Hsu-Gander says of her shoes, which stand the test of time, mud, concrete and gravel. What a kick.

Best Clothes for Chinese-American Princesses

Meili & Me

Boulderite Leslie Potter was inspired to create a more durable line of girls' clothing by her adopted Chinese daughter, Meili ("beautiful" in Chinese), who, as a crawler on two hands and two knees, wore out her Chinese silks faster than her mom could button them up. Potter's perky denim-and-print collection blends cultures with style, mating the Mandarin collars and frog fasteners of the traditional Asian chi-pao with all-American jean jackets, tiered ruffle skirts and capris. The ultra-cute play ensembles have been selling like hot egg drop soup since Potter first started stitching them together, and not just to families of Chinese adoptees. Cute is international.
There comes a time in many girls' lives when they move from playing with Barbie dolls to wanting to look like one. Lil' Cuts can help with the transition. The salon is specifically designed with kids in mind and features a carousel-esque setup lined with individual video monitors to keep the tiniest tots occupied long enough for a trim. The staff also knows how to keep tweens happy, offering special rates for birthday parties at which the guest of honor and each attendee is coiffed, styled, buffed and pampered to perfection in the store's full-service salon. After all, little girls get bigger every day.
Plenty of adults enjoy arts and crafts every bit as much as the younger set. Recognizing this, Hot Pots!, a paint-your-own-pottery studio, has come up with special packages for birthday parties, bridal showers and plain old bonding. Now kids of all ages can indulge their inner Picassos, using cups, saucers, plates, bowls and figurines as their canvas. The staff provides instructions, supervision, advice and all the paint needed to create a mini-masterpiece -- and for birthdays, a commemorative plate signed by all the guests is provided at no additional charge. Color them beautiful.

Best Place to Entertain Yourself After Breaking Your Leg

Swedish Medical Center

Swedish Medical Center
Medical emergencies aren't known for being fun, since they're often accompanied by blood, exposed bones, scrambled viscera, agonizing pain and more blood. So credit Swedish Medical Center with providing patients and their loved ones with a high-tech way to keep their minds off more unpleasant matters. Stalls in the emergency section of the hospital are outfitted with computers whose oversized screens and keyboards are mounted on swivel arms that extend over gurneys for easy access. Visitors can use the computers to watch any of 25 or so cable-television channels (the same selections available in regular rooms at Swedish), surf the Internet or play a variety of games. Getting hurt has seldom been so entertaining.
Are Jesus and Buddha friends? The supporters of St. Paul's Methodist Church's weekly Christian/Buddhist contemplation hour think so. Every Sunday, the Capitol Hill church hosts a low-key, hour-long service that mates Buddhist and Christian philosophy and practice. The interfaith congregants are a reflection of the neighborhood's eclecticism -- expect aspiring monks in robes and housewives in sweats -- and the program rotates like a prayer wheel. Most weeks, speakers from local temples and churches, including Christian pastors and Tibetan nuns, guide meditations and give talks on everything from right speech to redemption. The services provide an open, casual introduction to both Christian and Eastern practice. Be here now.
The second and fourth Tuesday of each month, Arvada's D Note welcomes Church at the Bar. Run by the local and open-minded Connected Life church group, it's the only service in town during which attendees can celebrate the Holy Spirit with spirits and good craft beer. Bar-hoppers thirsty for a few shots of spirituality now have no excuse for skipping church.
Spiritways
The next time you're out shopping for incense, a Balinese tapestry or a dagger to use in magical rituals, try SpiritWays. The East Colfax metaphysical shop has a wicked, double-bladed dagger, or athame, for every price range, starting with a small, economical Egyptian model for $30, complete with scabbard. Check out the Gil Hibben custom design series ($120 to $150) or the particularly ornate Isis Dagger, which at $99 comes with its own wall plaque. Typically, the ceremonies these daggers are designed for don't involve the letting of blood, but make no mistake: They're sharp and, as gun-store owners like to say, "ideally suited for home defense." And you don't need a special permit to own one.
As much a museum as an antique shop, Packrat Antiques is overflowing with the weird, the odd, the curious and the bizarre. Some of the items for sale, such as vintage Western movie posters, are fairly typical, but they represent only a tiny portion of the store's willfully eccentric collection. Scientific and medical instruments from eras gone by are a specialty: There are enough twisted gizmos, gadgets and doohickeys on hand to provide props for the next five David Cronenberg movies. As a bonus, Packrat features decorative items -- such as a human skull and imitation eyes to put in it -- sure to provoke conversation, if not terror. Here's looking at you, kid.


Ever wish you'd kept all those dorky iron-on T-shirts you wore as a kid? If so, get a load of Sugar. Nestled among the vintage shops on Broadway, the year-and-a-half-old boutique has a huge selection of retro-'70s and '80s iron-on transfers -- as well as custom lettering -- that can be applied to the shirt of your choice in minutes. Fancy unicorns? Atari? Joan Jett? They've got it. Sugar also carries a modest but unique array of men's and women's retro attire, jewelry and accessories. Sweet!

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