Pet licensing is a doggone drag, no doubt about it. First, there's digging up the dog's rabies-vaccination information, then finding the time to get down to the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter on Jason Street -- not an easy site to locate. Still, it's a worthwhile endeavor, especially since licensing fees help cover a portion of the shelter's costs, including those for adoption and vaccination programs. Last year, doing the good -- and legally required -- deed got a little easier, thanks to online licensing. Just visit, select "new" or "renew," and within five minutes, Fido and Fluffy can hit the city's off-leash dog parks lawfully.
Got a dog or cat with aching bones? Slip them into one of Debra Holte's high-quality, memory-foam pet beds, which offer orthopedic benefits similar to those enjoyed by two-legged hospital patients. What started as a home business has gone through the roof, with residents of the country's most animal-friendly city clamoring for BuddyBed's removable, waterproof, washable, antibacterial covers made of denim and fleece. It's a very good thing.
Local artist Julia McClurg has a way with pet portraits, and the proof is in dozens of commissions she's received since setting up shop. She captures the personality of her subjects instead of just reproducing their images, and as a result, her whimsical paintings are far better suited to the living room wall than the doghouse.
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.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of