Humane Society of Boulder Valley Training and Behavior Center
Every dog trainer this side of Cesar Millan knows that most of the job is about training the owners; even so, some mutts need a lot more whispering than others. The Humane Society of Boulder Valley offers a wide range of programs for different needs, from introductory workshops on "dog learning styles" to courses on puppy socialization and how to acclimate Shep to the arrival of a new baby. Most impressive, though, are the "Grumpy Growler" classes for those struggling with aggressive canines. Run by two instructors, limited to six dogs per session and costing $150 for a six-week course, this is no walk in the park. But it's cheaper than a lawsuit, and graduates swear by the results.
No one in her right mind would ever describe a routine mammogram as fun, but the folks at Porter Adventist's Breast Care Center do their very best to make it as pleasant — and easy — as possible. From the close-in free parking to the pamper-y dressing room, Porter strikes the perfect balance of workmanlike efficiency and gentle care. The procedure itself takes all of fifteen minutes, administered by skilled technicians using state-of-the-art digital equipment. Porter sends the results to both you and your doctor, and you're off the hook until next year — when you'll get a convenient reminder in the mail.
Think of it as a gossip circle — one that's several hundred strong. Highlands Mommies is far from the only neighborhood association around, but it stands out from the pack due to its size — at last count it included at least 500 northwest Denver mothers, most with pre-kindergarten-age children — and its keen use of the Internet. On their website, members have access to pages upon pages of recommended businesses (date-night venues, schools, day camps, child care, home contractors and health-care options are just a handful of the topics), and if you don't find what you're looking for there, you can fire off an e-mail to the HM mailing list — "Quick! I need to find the best mimosa in the neighborhood, RIGHT NOW!" — and within hours you'll have a friendly suggestion or twelve. If only the gals on Wisteria Lane had such a resource.
Moss Pink
There are flowers and then there are flowers — the sort that transport you to another time and place with their alluring placement or hint of exotic scent. Jil Schlisner of Moss Pink deals in the latter, designing elegant bouquets with an eye for both the unusual and the delicate, which might mean a prickly thorn apple will be juxtaposed with a fragrant rose, or a gentle fall of jasmine peeks from between artichoke-like protea blossoms. Right now, you're as likely as not to walk into Moss Pink and find beautiful golden and pink ranunculus, waxen hyacinths and striped tulips befitting an Old Master still life — but that varies, as Schlisner hand-picks every blossom daily. Walk in and vase the consequences.
Sous Le Lit Shoes and Accessories
Cheap and chic, that's how we like our shoes, and that's how we get them at Sous le Lit, where the latest thing in fine footwear fits every budget. Offering such young, trendy brands as Restricted, Report, Chinese Laundry and Blowfish, as well as classics like Nina, Sous le Lit (which means "under the bed" in French) proffers the style of a California girl, with lots of peep-toed, strappy pumps in bright colors, sling-backs, vegan shoes and dainty skimmers. To finish the look, there are lots of big bags and bling belts, too. Stroll on in — the shoe fits.
Goodwill
Courtesy Goodwill Industries of Denver Facebook page
Goodwill glitz? Who'da thunk it? This SoBo Goodwill outlet is the closest thing we've ever seen to Rodeo Drive in a thrift store. Okay — we jest. But the shiny, new, extra-large, two-floor budget boutique has plenty of racks ripe for the picking, with overflowing shelves of knick-knacks, a coffee nook, a book shop and a basement full of sports gear and furniture finds, as well as a hardworking staff with an out-of-the-ordinary Baker vibe. Our favorite section, though, is the "Trends" rack, where some of the store's best hand-me-downs hang. Anyone with a good imagination will know exactly what to do with these.
The personable partners of Bixa — Charles Pitchford and Darrel Dewitt — returned to Denver after a long stint in Aspen to open their tiny new storefront on Colfax. It's named for Bixa Orellana (an Amazonian plant identified by its red-orange stones, better known as Annatto seeds), and for their so-monikered cat. But the front is painted purple, and that paradox is just one of the many rare delights this retail anomaly brings to the street. What's in Bixa? It's a biodynamic/recycled paradise, the future of the corner drugstore, where every item on every shelf is sustainable in some way, from the high-end (and beautiful) South African telephone-wire baskets to cheaper pleasures, including all-organic fruit-flavored hot-chocolate mixes and cinnamon cotton candy. But the core product of the store — which is divinely littered with bracelets made from linked lapel buttons, necklaces of rolled-paper beads, pop-top wallets, bottle cap lamps and aromatic rose syrup — comes from Intelligent Nutrients, offering organic and healthy "nutraceutical" foods and supplements, infused flower waters and more.
The brainchild of Denver's self-appointed "thriftymamas" TaRosa Jacobs and Rebekah Adams, Thriftonista is an online clearinghouse for hard-to-find vintage apparel that the pair seeks out at estate sales and thrift stores. Jacobs and Adams, both new moms who met at a home-birthing class, clean up the clothing and post it online for a negotiable asking price. Each shipment comes wrapped with Thriftonista's special brand of love — typically a package of kettle corn or a bunch of brownies.
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You may lose your luggage at Denver International Airport, but you'll never lose your car. DIA's public-parking-lot elves do their utmost to ensure that you'll remember not only which of the eight overnight lots you parked in, but what row and spot, by handing you a reminder note as you embark on the airport shuttle. But should you lose that slip of paper and find yourself wandering among the Siberian SUV wilderness of the Mount Elbert lot, never fear. The elves log every car, by its license plate, into a database at night. Just call the lot's emergency number to get your vehicle's exact location. You really auto try it.
Traditional Mexican sweets, music and decorations for a quinceañera party are available at lots of locations on Denver's west side. But how many places also offer an impressive array of piñatas — from SpongeBob to Spider-Man to Hello Kitty — as well as phone cards and the services of a notario público? This job is somewhat weightier than the Anglo notary public, since it involves handling a range of paperwork, from immigration and taxes to translation and divorce. The idea of picking up a piñata with your divorce papers sounds, well, smashing.

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