Best Do-It-Yourself Book by a Local 2009 | Vintage Hairstyling Lauren Rennells | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Colorado hair stylist Lauren Rennells is a lady with a past, boasting an extensive career of styling for film and photography shoots, and it's in the past that she found the inspiration for Vintage Hairstyling, a picture-perfect manual on how to create retro looks, from pageboys and pompadours to victory rolls and finger waves. In spite of the vintage spin of her book, Rennells takes full advantage of modern tools to create a hair primer that's not just glamorous, but also easy to use. The days of Veronica Lake, Betty Grable and Ava Gardner (to name a few) are finally back at your fingertips.
Forget pastels and frills: Brian and Melissa Ball of Rock the Cradle think that babies are cute all on their own and don't need any help from their clothes. Yet they also agree that even babies deserve to make a fashion statement — one that leans toward the same organic natural fabrics, edgy contemporary graphics and local and independent vendors that their parents favor. Stop and shop, but when you visit, be sure take advantage of the DIY T-shirt bar, where you can pick a blank onesie and customize it with an iron-on transfer, right there in the store. Call it fashion in the moment, mini-sized.
Babysitter's Nightmare, a junior division of the longstanding goth and punk-wear shop FashioNation, does all it can to live up to its name, in screamin' black, red and leopard skin. But you do have to admit it's kinda cute, and the clothing tends to be well-made and clever. For girls, you can choose from zippered jumpers that go great with a black "Spoiled Rotten" black tee, striped leggings or skinny pants, vinyl soft high-heeled booties by Heelarious, leopard-print apron onesies for petite pinups, and black-cat Mary Janes; boys will look tough in garage jumpsuits, mini Vans-style slip-ons and "Future Pirate" or "Kid Vicious" T-shirts, riding on a retro trike. They're never too young to be street.
Sooner or later, everyone has to deal with that pile of neglected memories in an outdated format gathering dust in the attic or garage. Whether it's a stack of fading VHS tapes from the 1980s, home movies from the 1950s or a mélange of slides and snapshots that span generations, Steve Dalbec's home studio, the local franchise of a national digitalizing service, is the place to go. Dalbec can convert a range of old formats, including 16-millimeter movies, to DVD or computer files; he can clean up and edit scratchy images of ancient baptisms and graduations; and he'll produce handsome DVD "albums" of your cherished (if seldom-seen) family odyssey, complete with searchable menus and titles. The rates are competitive with other transfer services around town, with an added bonus: free pick-up and delivery by courier.
LoDo's redevelopment continues at a staggering pace, but every new building means one less parking lot, and without them, finding a place to leave the car gets harder and more expensive. There's still one asphalt oasis among this wasteland of meters, however: Wewatta Street right behind Union Station. This stretch of two-hour free parking is hardly ever full, and it's a short walk from here to just about anywhere in the Central Platte Valley or LoDo. Be warned, though: Once Union Station's long-awaited redevelopment begins this year, these spots will surely go the way of nickel-fed parking meters. 
If youre trying to start a business and need to know how much women spend on shoes within a ten-block radius of your house, or if youre just nosy, this is the database for you. BusinessDecision crunches vast arrays of census data and presents a range of demographic and economic profiles tailored to the research needs of small businesses everything from standard reports on household income and ethnicity to more complex portraits of communities spending and lifestyle habits. Want to know how many industrious urban fringe types populate a certain zip code as opposed to Main Street USA middle-of-the-roaders or laptop and lattes trendsetters? Just grab your library card and head for the research resources section of the DPLs website. Theres a charge for using some of the services elite features, but reference personnel should be able to guide you through the impressive free offerings.
We all have our favorite manicurists, but Sweet Life Nail Bar and Lounge has an edge, a gentle one, that just might change your mind. It starts with the toxin-free, long-lasting, many-colored Zoya products that owner Diane Bilello insists on using, which leaves the Stapleton salon virtually odorless, a novelty in and of itself. But then sink back on this: Sweet Life's lounge-like atmosphere, replete with overstuffed armchairs and warm lamplight instead of fluorescent bulbs, takes the hurry and stress out of having your nails done, especially when you throw in a glass of wine, mimosa or Grey Goose martini from the bar. A bar? In a nail salon? Say no more. Mind changed.
The local comix community is small but dedicated, and you could say the same of Kilgore's, the tiny used bookstore shoehorned into a space along 13th Avenue. Opened last summer by Capitol Hill Books veteran Luke Janes and his pal, Dan Stafford, Kilgore — named for the iconic Kurt Vonnegut character Kilgore Trout — fills a much-needed niche. Featuring a carefully handpicked selection of books, especially those with a classic sci-fi or underground bent (think Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick and Charles Bukowski), it also specializes in comix, graphic novels and zines, both local and esoteric. Janes and Stafford have also hosted special events showcasing Denver cartoonists such as John Porcellino and Noah Van Sciver. And you always get something for your trouble at Kilgore: They give away a comic-art bookmark with every purchase.
Older homes are typically loaded with character, and some people love nothing better than to stroll through a neighborhood and check out the architecture. For them, there Denver's Old House Society and its guided walking tours. The outings are hosted by Denver homeowners and designed by the nonprofit's boardmembers (who collectively have architectural, construction, historic preservation and zoning experience), and there are refreshments afterward. There's no better way for the old-house lover to spend an afternoon. It's good to be home.
Behind the quaint pink door of this, well, charming shop, you'll find an ongoing flea-full of quality antiques and vintage decor. But like any true flea market worth its dust, Oh, So Charming only opens its pink door for one weekend monthly, offering the same kind of changing selection you'd find on the street, under an umbrella, at one of the town's periodic outdoor markets. Co-owners Melissa Bragg, Gwen Arnold and Marianne Baldwin began their business at outdoor fairs and decided to try a more permanent outlet after hearing the same old question — "Do you have a shop?" — asked over and over again. This alternative, housed in a renovated mouse-gray bungalow, offers the best of both worlds, every second Friday and Saturday of the month.

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