Dragonfly EcoGoods

Dragonfly EcoGoods is a friendly neighborhood business devoted to sustainability and local or fair-trade products. Wander in for a visit and you'll find all manner of recycled, organic, ecological and just plain cute products, from bamboo dishcloths and reusable, dishwasher-safe lunchbox pouches to handcrafted scented soaps, herbal oils or dangling glass earrings made from dumpster shards. The community-friendly shop offers discounts for riding your bike or bringing your own bag, while online buyers get "Karmic Offset Credits" for every $20 they spend at the website. Green's never been easier, or as much fun.

Grateful Meds

Some people say that smoking marijuana enhances creativity. Hard to believe, seeing as how so many medical marijuana dispensaries seem to have stopped after combining some variation of the words "green," "kind," "cannabis," "medical," "room" or "care." Not Nederland's Grateful Meds. If we have to explain the joke to you, then you wouldn't find it amusing anyway. For those who do, keep on truckin'!

Lower Highland, and specifically the burgeoning west Riverfront area around 15th and Platte Streets, has captured something fleetingly new and different when it comes to neighborhood shopping districts: a hip, funky, bohemian feel that bristles with urban electricity. From the citified couture of Mona Lucero Design Boutique to the grassroots bike culture of Salvagetti Bike Workshop to the exotic aroma of the original Savory Spice Shop, LoHi's got a little bit of everything...and more.

Goodwill

Goodwill Industries of Denver stores have long been known for their bargains, but this past year, they made a good deal even better when they opened up two Goodwill Outlet World locations. At these casual, sometimes chaotic spots, most merchandise that hasn't moved at the local Goodwill stores is sold by the pound rather than the item. For nineteen pounds or less, the fee is $1.49 per pound; above nineteen pounds, your haul drops to 99 cents a pound. (TVs, books and furniture still have a per-item price tag). Such a deal!

It started in 2008 with durable tote bags stitched together using repurposed DNC banners that had once flown from light poles around town. Since then, Mission Wear, a Denver nonprofit, has been making Banner Bags out of all kinds of local event banners, commemorating everything from sporting events to museum shows to theater openings; no two bags are the same. Founded by Beth McWhirter, Mission Wear provides jobs for women who are having trouble finding employment because of a history of prostitution, felonies or substance abuse. For prices and a list of where the bags are sold, visit Mission Wear's website and carry Denver with you all the time.

Park Meadows Shopping Center

Park Meadows is unapologetically suburban, with its indoor rivulets and stone fireplace, but sometimes that's just what a shopper wants. The place is a leader in bringing new retailers to the area, and its lodge-like outdoor Vistas addition offers an elegant nod to the latest trend in shopping malls. We all need our shot of Nordstrom and the Gap once in a while. Why not do your mall crawl down south?

Confused about where you can find the best gasoline deals? Before you drive off to fill your tank, stop by www.DenverGasPrices.com, one of 200 live gasoline price-tracking websites run by GasBuddy.com, which will not only steer you to the very best deals in town, but help you understand why prices are more volatile than a Toyota Prius zooming down I-70.

Need something altered? It's no clothes call: Fana, who's run the eponymous Fittings by Fana for more than a decade, can take on anything from a wedding gown that needs to be fitted — fast — to a vintage find that requires alterations, to a leather coat that had an unfortunate encounter with a pet. Prices are low and she works quickly — if you remind her that you're on a deadline.

MaxFund Clinic

Like the hard-luck injured and abandoned animals who end up here, MaxFund is a survivor that knows how to weather bad times. In a metro area blessed with many hardworking shelter advocates, this quixotic nonprofit has found its place taking in and patiently adopting out dogs and cats that might otherwise be euthanized. As a true no-kill shelter, its operating costs per animal are higher than others, but the arrangement also means less pressure for visitors looking to adopt — and a better chance that the right match between human and pet will be made. A strong donor base and enthusiastic volunteers help make it all work. Next time you're in the market for a truly classy mutt or kitty, don't pass them by.

Growing your own garden is great — once you get going. Starting with seedlings is another story: Those little buggers seem to shoot up nicely and then suddenly shrivel up miserably, as if they've randomly lost the will to live. Luckily, a very enterprising green thumb named Ingrid will start your seedlings for you for $3 to $5 per pot in her home greenhouse in northwest Denver. Then, come early May, she'll hand over the strapping young plants, ready to transplant. Choose from a catalogue that includes everything from ultra-rare heirloom tomatoes to bhut jolokia, the hottest pepper in the world.

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