Best Tattoo and Piercing Studio 2010 | Bound by Design | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

It's hard to find something not to like about Bound by Design. The shop might not be located in the swankiest area of town, but when you walk inside, the clean atmosphere — featuring hardwood floors and understated décor — immediately puts you on notice that this place takes tattoos and piercings very seriously. There's an astounding array of body jewelry laid out in glass cases, and all of the artists do excellent work — plus they're friendly, knowledgeable and non-judgmental, to boot, explaining the process from start to finish and taking extra time to make sure you understand the after-care instructions. Each artist works out of his or her own room, so any level of privacy you desire is possible. Best of all, the artists guarantee their work: If you discover you don't like the positioning of your piercing, they'll re-pierce you for free, and you can get free touch-ups for life on any Bound by Design tattoos. (If the artist is no longer there, they'll even tell you where he or she went — but the turnover rate is low at Bound by Design; most artists have been there for years.) They make it easy to think ink.

The nation's longest street is becoming a regular cake walk — at least along Cupcake Row, where Mulberries, an emigré from Platt Park, has joined the Shoppe and Lovely Cupcakes. Ah, such sweet suffering. Mulberries' claim to fame is pure whimsy: topsy-turvy cakes of all sizes, decorated with colorful buttercream bows, blossoms, dots, ladybugs and blobs, or cupcake towers like bouquets of stunning rosettes. We say welcome to the 'Fax: Old South Pearl Street's loss is East Colfax's gain.

Seeking Cherry Creek ambience on a budget? Koru, named for the Maori word for an unfurling fern frond (and signifying new beginnings), endeavors to reflect its tony East Sixth Avenue neighborhood by stocking its cheerful storefront with a rapidly morphing stash of high-end consignment furniture, as well as some new items. And if you're looking to sell rather than buy, New Zealanders Linsey and Ché Kelly offer an inviting 50/50 split to consignees. Go on: Put on the Ritz, right in your own home.

Customers of Sol Lingerie got a chance to take the Sol girl — or at least a small piece of her likeness — home with them last year when the upscale Cherry Creek North shop decided to recycle its older billboards and window displays into reusable tote bags. The Sol girl, who traipses around Colorado wearing nothing but her skivvies, was featured in most of those ads and has been seen on TV and in magazines. Some of the one-of-a-kind bags were given away to big spenders, while others are sold in the shop, at 248 Detroit Street. Buy one and your cups will runneth over.

The Denver Public Library has always had its geeky side, from boasting DVD selections that rival Blockbuster to offering hordes of B-movies available for streaming online. But it may have outdone itself with a web portal it developed for smart phones. Not only can patrons search the online card catalogue in a format that's easy to read on their tiny screens, but thanks to a program called OverDrive Media Console, iPhone, Android and Blackberry users with a library card number can browse, download and listen to audiobooks directly from their phones. It's just like borrowing an old-fashioned book: When the title is due "back," you can no longer listen to it. Check it out.

"Saving relationships, one month at a time!" That's the motto of, which got its start during a LoDo happy-hour bar discussion. Unlike so many booze-inspired ideas, Jordan Eisenberg turned this one into reality, creating a free service currently tracking the schedules of 37,000 women, and it's even available as an iPhone app. As the site notes, "PMS — premenstrual syndrome — can be a difficult time of the month for many women and those close to them. Since discussing PMS is not exactly welcomed dinner table conversation, and may lead to dinner plates being hurled across the room, we want to take the unexpectedness out of this recurring occurrence so that those affected by PMS can be prepared and aware."

Tom Rhine learned the craft of repairing shoes in high school, started his own shoe-repair business back in 1966, and after nearly fifty years in the field, decided it was time to pass along his knowledge to the next generation with a formal, ten-month curriculum. Today, Rhine's Cobbler School is the only certified cobbler school in Colorado. If you want to cobble together a prosperous career, one that will leave you well-heeled, Rhine's could be the place for you. Or if you'd just like a fast repair job, Rhine does that, too.

The Feline Fix, Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance's low-cost, high-volume spay-and-neuter program, aims to make a significant dent in Denver's feral cat population by sterilizing thousands of unadoptable strays each year. But the program is also open to domestic tabbies who might otherwise be breeding all sorts of havoc; prices are much lower than what most vets charge for the service, and the Fix even offers occasional specials to help promote awareness of the overpopulation problem.

Flowers, port-a-potties and statues of dudes on horses aren't the only things that sprout from the ground in Civic Center Park. Thanks to the efforts of Transition Denver, the park is now home to a seasonal garden, where organic vegetables are planted, harvested and enjoyed by the public. Even better, some of the food winds up in the pantries of local organizations that work with Denver's homeless. The use of public spaces for urban gardening is an intriguing trend that's catching on in cities across the country, viewed as a potential solution to problems like hunger and poor nutrition. Plus, it's just darn cool to think of carrots, peppers and tomatoes growing down the street from the library and art museum. We're glad the City of Denver was plucky enough to agree.

Peggy Gulam of Chrysalis Eco Boutique likes to point out some startling truths that most people never even think about. Like, for instance, how conventional cotton, the kind used to make the majority of our clothes, requires the use of hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. Or how manufacturing polyester uses up fossil fuels and creates waste. Located in the new Streets at SouthGlenn mall makeover, Chrysalis proves that clothing can be both fashion-forward and ecologically correct, and to that end, the store stocks only garments that are certified to be green (as well as USA-made or fair trade/sweatshop-free) in an environment built from and sworn to using sustainable products. Maybe that seems a little extreme, but Gulam likes to note that the idea of greening your wardrobe is more than a fad — or, worse, a retail promotion.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of