BEST POTIONS 2006 | MoonDance Botanicals | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Tonja Reichley calls herself an alchemist, and it's easy to agree when you watch her mix her signature potions and lotions in the back room of MoonDance Botanicals. Before setting up shop in the Golden Triangle, Reichley studied in Ireland with an honest-to-God Celtic herbalist and learned to brew fresh, all-natural products designed specifically to combat the dry Colorado air. Try her handmade Chill Out Lavender spritzer, naturally perfumed creams or luxurious bath soaks, and you'll be ready to take on the 21st century with old-world style.
The national eco-friendly movement toward green burials has a new friend in the Denver-based Prairie Arts League, which aims to preserve a large tract of Colorado prairie as a wildlife refuge. To finance the project, the group is selling space in a cemetery that will be a final resting place for folks who want to be scattered to the winds or go into the ground naturally, without the frills of embalming, fancy caskets, vaults or expensive memorials. As a result, local grasses and wildlife -- instead of the manicured lawns of cemeteries or the metal and concrete of development -- can reinhabit the prairie. Ashes to ashes.
Any excuse for dog owners to set foot into macymacy is a good one. Owner Macy Matarazzo runs the cleverest, most pet-friendly shop in town, if not the universe, offering a fine array of pet paraphernalia, goodies, outrageous doggie togs and greetings from the store's tiny Chihuahua model/mascots, Murray and Meatball. Even if you've never had the urge to dress up your dog for Halloween, you will if you stop by macymacy come fall. Matarazzo has everything you need to turn your pooch into a little devil, big superhero or something even more esoteric that calls for a mullet, Afro, hairnet or curler wig. What a howl!
How can you not know Larry? Sugar, everyone who is anyone knows Larry. Larry is not just some metrosexual mutt; he's hunky hairdresser Steve Trujillo's beautiful bichon frise -- as well as Denver's most famous celebrity dog. It's a well-known fact that Larry eats more gourmet meals, dresses in more designer dog collars and has more frequent-flier miles than all of the attorneys at Holland & Hart combined. Having a stylist as a human companion helps Larry keep his fur impeccably shampooed, conditioned and clipped in the latest styles. And when he looks good, he feels good -- which is important, because Larry works like a dog, constantly wagging his tail off to be BFF with everyone on Denver's A-list. And we all know what bichons they can be. Woof!
The staff at T-Trove is quite capable of helping you find what you're looking for in Asian furniture and home accessories, from humongous antique leather drums to delicate silk table runners, carved teak screens, cloisonne vases, tea sets and jewelry. Still, it's nice to have Eliot, a Belgia-Malinois mix, serving as a four-legged concierge and adding a touch of canine class to an already classy place.
In the confines of this oh-so-au-courant boutique, nobody is hipper than Vincent, the gray-and-white feline who bounds to the door to greet visitors, appraise their footwear and, occasionally, escort them to the counter to peruse the shop's fresh and stylish clothing, jewelry, cards and accessories. Owner Mona Lucero may have her own line of separates and handbags, but this is Vincent's world: He even gets fan mail and doles out advice on the shop's website,
Dr. Mary Mich is a massage therapist extraordinaire and chiropractic goddess, but it's Jake, her adopted Australian shepherd/Border collie mix, that makes her service undeniably special. Jake carefully inspects the personality and temperament of each patient Mich sees to determine the best course of treatment: Alphas get the ultimate privilege of scratching his belly, while betas get herded. Round 'em up, Jake.
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.

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