Sisters Dayna Nixon and Shari Triche are natives of New Orleans, but that hasn't stopped them from becoming some of this state's most vociferous "Buy Colorado" boosters. They opened Colorado Cupboard almost two years ago, filling it with only certifiably Colorado goods: candles, organic honey, peanut butter, jewelry, photography, soaps, lotions, prepared foods, chocolate, cookies, baby food and more. The only deviation from the Centennial State theme is the 100 percent hometown food they serve in the Cupboard's adjunct Cooking With Jazz Cafe: beignets, roast beef po' boys and jambalaya. Vive Cajun Colorado!
It's not cost-effective to drive all over town when you're shopping for bargains; what you pay in gas is likely to offset any real savings. What you need is a single spot with numerous stores for the frugal-minded -- a spot like Central Park Center, a thrifters' paradise in southeast Denver. This mall features not one, not two, but three of the best bargain-basement stores in the area. On the prowl for a serviceable coat? Try your luck at ARC. Looking for a plastic lamb to nestle in the front lawn? Big Lots might have just the thing. And if shiny new housewares and cheap wrapping paper get your heart beating faster, Family Dollar has what you want. Misers, start your engines!
Pandora Jewelry
Pandora Jewelry carries much more than just jewelry. There's Angel Snot (sticky, gooey, sparkly stuff that comes in an egg), Dress-Me-Jesus dolls, hula-girl dashboard ornaments and bacon-strip band-aids, just for starters. And who can live without tater-tot pencil toppers? If kitsch isn't on your shopping list, you can stock up on hip gifts, including groovy greeting cards, luxurious candles and soaps, glittery jewelry and unique chi-chi shwag that's good for any last-minute hostess gift. Open Pandora's box; we guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Rosi Macedo is a diminutive gem of a jewelry designer with a monstrous talent. After years of study and designing in Rio de Janeiro and New York City, the Brazilian native moved to Denver and opened a shop here in 1993, where she creates gorgeous custom jewelry using semi-precious and precious stones in gold, platinum and silver. Her work is perfect for any occasion, but Macedo's real specialty is same-sex commitment rings. They're pretty enough to make Marilyn Musgrave envious.
A cute bag is a girl's best friend. And, like girlfriends, you need more than one: Each bag in your collection should fulfill a specific need, appeal to a certain facet of your ever-changing, sparkling personality. The Pink Purse celebrates such diversity with a selection of hip pocketbooks that range from functional to outright silly. Hooray for the Zippurse and the Original Seatbeltbag for turning everyday materials into something fabulous and durable; three cheers for Matt & Nat's PETA-approved synthetic leather "vegan" bags in fun colors; and kudos to Little Earth's molded license-plate bags, including a Euro-sleek Italian one and a rootin'-tootin' Wyoming model with a root beer bottle-cap clasp. Thank heaven for Hello Kitty couture, suede-fringed hobos, corduroy clutches and everything in between. Hey, it's in the bag.
Staying on the cusp of urban-sneaker culture is a tough mission that involves a constant dialogue between the word on the street and the drafting table. But Kris Fry and brothers Randy and Mark Kleiner decided to give it a shot last year, opening The 400 as a real working retail laboratory. Besides doing research for clients in the skate, action-sports and running-shoe industries, the three operate a storefront where they display and sell shoes you won't find in the malls, from such seriously up-to-date collectable lines as Adidas Trendline, Nike Quickstrike, Gravis Blackbox and Onitsuka Tiger. The 400 also exhibits artwork by local graffiti artists and graphic designers on First Fridays; in the crowds, just be careful not to step on anyone's shoes.
What you put on your face has to be carefully considered, since that's where people look first, and the glasses you wear should speak for you. If you want your face to say "hip" and "cutting-edge," head to DisRespectacles, the only outpost of this big-city-style store outside of New York. For chunky, oversized shades, updated aviators and freaky, fat rectangular frames that make a statement, look no further than this Platte Street spectacle.
If you're gonna play poker, you're gonna have to dress poker. If you were a bulldog, a visor and cigar would be all that you'd need. But two-legged folk like a fuller house. That's what area tournament player/ real-estate investor/Vegas hustler Michael Turnbull banked on when he created PokerMade, an online shop hawking T-shirts, caps and women's panties emblazoned with poker slogans and symbols that range from the straightforward "Deal Me In" to the iconic, Last Supper-parody "Poker Night With the Boys." Read 'em and weep, boys, read 'em and weep.
Your Best Friend's Closet
If you can squeeze into something smaller than a size fourteen, Ranelle Gregory's inviting vintage, thrift and consignment clothing shop is a bargain paradise. Fittingly, Your Best Friend's Closet is best experienced with a friend, so take one along who enjoys stroking fabric, eyeing jewelry and mining for good labels. Help each other pick out outfits and then model the results: More often than not, you'll get lucky in Your Best Friend's Closet.
Safari Seconds Thrift Store
Safari Seconds isn't the biggest, the cleanest or even the most discerning thrift store in town, but it supports a very good cause: The shop is a fundraising venture of the non-profit African Community Center and employs immigrants in need of social acclimation and job experience. Tucked behind Manos, Safari Seconds can be tough to find, but there are a few specialties here that make the hunt worthwhile, particularly the Ethiopian coffee, the trinkets and store manager Jerry Baack, a Vietnam vet with a big heart and an eye for antiques and vintage glass. It's a jungle out there, but Safari makes it worth the trek.

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