Tibetan refugee Palden Yangsto Hester is the real thing, a forced emigree whose heart still burns with love for her birthplace, even though her family was persecuted and some members killed. Now settled here, Hester imports wares from Tibet, Nepal and India, selling them in a richly appointed Cherry Creek North emporium under a banner that roars "Save Tibet." The store is ringed with a stock of fierce tiger rugs, intricate thangkas, antique furniture, prayer flags and Buddha figures, but Hester's main focus is the kind of jewelry that really must be called objets d'art: heavy strings of breathtaking natural coral, amber and turquoise hung with beautifully etched silver pendants. Glorious.
Maxine's isn't so much a garden shop as a shop that speaks to gardeners. Megan McNeish has created an indoor/outdoor theme, with sweet-smelling sachets, French glassware and luscious ripple-edged dishes cohabiting with birds' nests filled with tiny blue eggs, glass cloches housing sprays of forced tulips, pillows made from burnt orange- and celery-colored umbrella fabric, wirework furniture and doormats made of recycled plastic. As spring blooms, she'll add potting tables, aprons and gloves to go with her clay-pot seed kits and tin-can gardens.
Walk into Jean Snow's Apiary and you'll find every nook and cranny loaded with untold stories of long ago. The aroma of orange blossoms emanates from a tree in the window, and Snow's motto -- "Nature makes the most amazing things" -- manifests itself on every shelf, as it has for more than thirty years. The shop pays homage to the apiary that Snow's father kept during her Connecticut childhood -- beehive lamps, beeswax candles and a delicate white hornets' nest hanging from the ceiling -- but it also celebrates her sensibilities with her own picture-perfect dried-flower arrangements, plus horn-shaped Tussy Mussies, botanical art, pheasant eggs, French linens and sweetly scented soaps. Something this divine is everyone's beeswax.
Saints and pigs, gargoyles and gMile-Hi Statuary 5048 Morrison Rd. 303-934-3244reyhounds, dragons and geese, lions and tigers and bears -- oh, my! Mile-Hi's amazing selection of fountains and yard ornaments outpaces that of the garden stores, many of which offer similar products at a higher price. Another advantage to shopping here: You can request your rabbit, gnome or Elvis in colored cement -- charcoal, white, blue, green, even buff -- at no extra chare.
Not much has changed in the world of the Tooth Fairy since you were a kid, except maybe the rate of exchange -- and the packaging. Kristi Howard crafts Tooth Fairy pillows for her store, Starlet, sewing them in bunny-soft chenille with pockets just the right size for a bitty tooth, quarter or folded bill and personal note, and ribbons to hang them from a doorknob or bed frame. Sweet dreams.
Bella Sera Baby
Walking into Bella Sera Baby, there is no doubt that owner Courtney Lupe is the kind of mother who marches to a different drummer. It shows in every detail of her sweet baby bedding and accessories, which she sews mostly by herself. Lupe, who was originally a wholesaler, recently went retail with a limited-hours store so that shoppers could see and touch her wares, including cute bibs and burpies, baby slings, chenille and double-sided satin blankies. Your baby never had it so good.
Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center
Give the newly fledged little man or woman in your life the gift of the Jewish Community Center. Cards are available in any denomination and can be used toward any of the services offered at the JCC, from a free back float to tennis camp. Today you are a mensch!
Kids are a pain in the ass. They demand to be fed, and they take all your shoe money. Thank goodness for Family Flex, where parents can drop the youngsters off and spend a worry-free night on the town. Family Flex's daycare program has been wait-listed for much of the year since Marie Hueston opened the facility, but her drop-in evening care is available to anyone in town with a child under age twelve. Send the little demons over anytime between 5 and 11 p.m., and she'll feed and entertain them -- in an educational manner, of course -- for just $30 for five hours. All that, and it won't break the Choo and Lucchese budget.
What self-respecting desperate housewife would be able to resist a delivery boy dressed in a kilt? Those cute kneesocks are to die for! Keith Warner of Highland Water knew you'd feel that way, which is why he sends his boys on their water-delivery rounds wearing kilts. It worked for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: Warner says they recently called him to switch to Highland Water as their drinking-water supplier. Now the only question is, what's under those kilts?

BEST PURVEYOR OF BOOZE AND THE WISDOM OF HOMER SIMPSON

The Wine Seller and Spirits Too

The Wine Seller and Spirits Too
The Wine Seller and Spirits Too is staffed with quirky, friendly, knowledgeable liberal-arts-major clerks who are intimately familiar with the store's impressive selection of wines (from swill to swank), respectable stock of beers (both micro and industrial), and expansive liquor cabinet. What draws people in, however, is the Wine Seller's outdoor sign, which it shares with the neighboring dry cleaner. Together they put up clever offerings that are sometimes sports-related, sometimes famous quotes from Homer Simpson and other respected luminaries, and sometimes just things that make ya go "Huh?"

Best Of Denver®

Best Of