No+place+says+Denver+like+Civic+Center+Park.

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.

Chrysalis Eco-Boutique

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.

Elizabeth Lindsay Creations

It's the simplest idea, but one with long legs: a hand-stamped silver tag with a supportive word or phrase that you gift to yourself or to someone you love. It might say "peace" or "I am by your side" or even sport just a name. Some are stamped with a dog bone or a pet's name; others come with dangling gemstones. Those emblazoned with "guardian" help benefit the In Defense of Animals Guardian Campaign. Created by local jewelry artist Elizabeth Lindsay, who made the first one for her dad during a time of strife and dubbed them Token Tags, the charms are a runaway hit, with celebrity fans ranging from Trista Sutter to Whoopi Goldberg. Go ahead, wear your feelings on your sleeve.

Starlet

Girl-to-girl gifting is an art form: a subtle exercise in gentle one-upsmanship mixed with gal-pal love...and a shot of whipped cream. And Starlet, dear BFFs, fulfills. The Highland Square shop's second location, which opened late last year, is an expanded version of the first, and it fits the new neighborhood like a fingerless glove. Go here if you want to surprise your soul sister with a bauble or whimsy that won't break the bank; the beauty of it is that you'll still have money left over to get something for yourself.

Clutter Consignment

Clutter, as the name implies, has a bit of everything: grandfather clocks, furry Kreiss chairs, luxurious Ralph Lauren sofas, fine crystal, everyday Pyrex, vintage, modern, antique, mid-century, born yesterday — you name it — all grouped in idea-inducing vignettes. In addition, the well-appointed consignment store hosts monthly exhibits and carries handmade items, both showcasing local artists and artisans. Which, naturally, makes it one of the most delightful places to shop for bargains for your home. Let Clutter clutter up your home.

Wordshop

Have something awkward to say? Prefer to do it by mail to avoid uncomfortable silences? Wordshop has just the greeting card for you. An example: A card with two lovers on the front; the outside says, "Let's be together tonight," and the inside says, "But when we're done, I'd like to leave." Loud. And. Clear. Or how about a get-well card that says, "Would it hurt if I flicked it?" Or a card with a stick figure, complete with testicles, that simply says, "Balls are funny." And for that hot inmate who dumped you via post? A card that says, "You broke my heart. Just thought you should know."

Local DIYer Kym Bixler figured out a great way to tap into your musical nostalgia while leaping headlong into the future. She takes old broken cassette tapes from the '80s — Cyndi Lauper, the Police, the Thompson Twins, to name just a few — splits them open and sews a felt lining inside. Then she adds a zipper to seal it up, and presto: a retro case that perfectly fits most smaller iPods. Of course, they can also be used as wallets or business-card holders, but nothing says hip like earphones emerging from an old tape.

Wife Savor

Washing machines help keep men looking their best and are often taken for granted until they need repair or replacement. Which pretty much also describes the role of a wife in some marriages. Typically, divorced men suddenly find them­selves without a wife or washer, and there is no better place to heal the hurt than at the Wife Savor Laundromat. The name itself forces the newly single philaunderer to fully appreciate all that is lost with the folding of briefs and the balling of socks. The act of peering into the drier's void while watching one's clothes tumble over themselves endlessly is the perfect metaphor for what the future holds. Insert additional coins to buy more time.

Getting ready to throw out your old lawn furniture? Open Air Chair Repair has the vinyl solution. This company will repair, restore and restrap your old outdoor furniture, pulling from a stock that includes more than fifty colors of vinyl. The repairs may not come cheap, but restoring outdoor furniture is a lot greener than tossing it and starting over.

Just thinking about bedbugs is enough to make most people squirm — and everyone squirms a little faster when they hear that bedbugs are on the rise in Denver, showing up in apartment complexes, dorms, even homes. After leaving the corporate world, Leon Bayha got the bug to do something about these little critters, and he put his handy canine sidekick, Buzz, through 800 hours of training at the Florida Canine Academy. Working together as Colorado K-9 Detective Services, Bayha and Buzz can track down bedbugs with deadly efficiency — and put all those squirmy concerns to rest.

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