FACTORY| Made, Boulder

FACTORY | made divides and conquers: On one hand, it's a buyer's showcase for mostly local designers and independent manufacturers of furniture, body products, jewelry and accessories, stationery, clothing and just about anything freshly made by hand on the Front Range. On the other, it's a creative lab that provides tools and materials, fabrication space and production resources for sound, video and graphics, as well as networking and instruction opportunities for growing cottage industries. A living, breathing amalgam, FACTORY | made serves as a model of the future, encouraging discourse, creativity and community for people who might previously have worked alone or on the fringe.

Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie

Alicia Vargo's quest to help breast-cancer survivors started nine years ago, when a woman scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy walked into Vargo's Lone Tree shop, Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie. The woman was looking for answers. Vargo didn't have any, but she promised herself it would be the last time that she was taken off guard by the topic. In the years that followed, she hired several certified mastectomy fitters and started carrying post-mastectomy bras and prostheses. And she recently took the next step, opening an outpost of her shop at Porter Adventist Hospital that caters to patients undergoing treatment there, providing one-stop shopping — and, more important, answers — for many more women.

Sugarlicious

I want candy. You want candy. Deep down inside, in a private place, doesn't everyone? If you haven't outgrown the excitement of opening up your Halloween bag after a night of extorting your neighbors for sugary treats, take yourself and your weakness to Sugarlicious in Cherry Creek North, where confections of every kind, from chocolate-covered Gummi bears to Pez, spill over from 250 plastic bins along the wall. It's also the place for the sweetest party favors and hostess gifts, and sisters Jill Landman Alfond (the owner) and Stacey Landman (the manager) are also set up to help customers plan dessert buffets for parties and weddings. The bottom line is that you don't have to be Creekish to stop in for a secret stash of wax candy bottles and Nunu's chocolates. Sugarlicious is for everyone.

Readers' Choice: Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop

CU-Denver MBA candidate Andrea Burns first conceived of the idea for LoyalTee — a fledgling business that creates T-shirts celebrating favorite (and sometimes esoteric) local haunts — as a class project in 2010. Then, with fellow entrepreneur Todd Culter, Burns went on to create a modest line of ten shirts, honoring everything from the Rocky Flats Lounge to the Tivoli building to the old Mile High Stadium, from a clearly (but sweetly) biased point of view. And finally, as a bonus, the tiny company puts its money where its heart is: Not only is the tag on each tee a postcard telling the history of the place it celebrates, but LoyalTee lives up to its name by donating a percentage of each sale to the lauded businesses. They've since added a couple of designs — one with the Colorado State flag — but the quality remains high. LoyalTee has its heart in all the right places. Show your loyalty at www.loyalteeshirts.com.

Mi Pueblo Market

We could give Mi Pueblo Market a lot of awards — Best Our Lady of Guadalupe Setup in a Grocery Store, Best Use of Reggaetón as Mood Music, Best Life-Sized Cardboard Diorama of Women Making Tortillas — but we've got to hand it to the cakes. From a tiny bakery within the grocery store, fresh and delicious sheet cakes appear in the glass cases daily. Adorned with semi-sweet frosting and lots of flair, Mi Pueblo cakes are made for birthdays, national holidays, religious holidays, soccer matches and sexy-whatever days. Oh, and if you're looking for a cake wearing a Ken doll sitting comfortably in a stream of sugar champagne, this is probably the only place in town to get it.

The Denver Cruisers take care of their own, and they stepped up that credo last year with the introduction of Human Powered Transit Authority, a pop-up, hole-in-the-wall stop where cruisers could hang while perusing through the latest in bicycle baskets, bells and horns. But the temporary shop — conceived of and run by Denver Cruiser and jewelry designer Andrea Li — was primarily a costume shop that tailored its stock to the weekly cruiser ride's changing themes, and when the cruising season was over, it was gone. The good news from Denver Cruiser big wheel Brad Evans is that the store will most likely be back in time for the May launch of this year's season, though with a new name — "House O' Wheels" is being bandied about — and location. And that's likely to be close to the recently transformed Wheel Club 404, at 404 Broadway, which is shaping up as the new Denver Cruisers meeting place. Let the cruising begin.

Denver City and County Building

Sure, it's the most romantic day of the year. A day for butterfly kisses, red roses, heart-shaped chocolates, blah, blah, blah. But even if you don't go in for all that Hallmark crap, it's worth picking February 14 to tie the knot at City Hall. The folks at the Denver Clerk and Recorder's Office do it up big, with prizes (wine! theater tickets! a trip for two on Southwest Airlines!), a gratis wedding photographer and one of the best officiants in the biz: Herbert "Herbie the Love Judge" Galchinsky. They even provide plastic gold rings if you don't have your own, making it easy for everyone to say "I do."

Denver Design Incubator

The small, independent designer juggles one of the hardest jobs in the marketplace, simply because she has to wear so many hats: artist, bookkeeper, consultant, production line and chief dreamer are just a few of them. But with the Denver Design Incubator there to show them the ropes, more designers can find solid ground as creative entrepreneurs more quickly in this sink-or-swim world. The DDI offers classes and even walk-in free studio time on Wednesdays at its new northwest Denver facility, but its primary vehicle, the Designer-in-Residence program, is a concentrated course of ongoing mentorship combined with studio time in the nonprofit's own industrial sewing shop.

Logan Liquors

Logan Liquors has been in the Farber family for 33 years, selling wine, beer and spirits to the good-time residents of Washington Park from behind the counter and from the drive-thru window around back. In fact, the converted gas station is one of the only liquor stores in town with a drive-thru. Recently, owner Stanley Farber's grandson, Justin, added a healthy selection of craft beers, including rare or difficult-to-find bottles, to the little shop's collection. So if you're in a hurry, Logan Liquors can certainly hook you up with some jug wine or a fifth of hooch at the window, but it can also supply you with the latest small-batch brew from Avery, Odell or New Belgium.

Best E-Mail Newsletter From a Bureaucrat

MyDPS

Much of what crowds people's inboxes nowadays is junk. Especially e-newsletters, which tend to be pleas for money or schemes to rid you of yours. Most you delete without even opening. But if you're interested in the goings-on at Denver Public Schools, there's one you'll want to click: MyDPS, sent weekly to more than 32,000 e-mail addresses by Superintendent Tom Boasberg. Sure, it's full of happy news about the district's accomplishments, but it doesn't shy away from more controversial subjects, either, such as the heat wave that invaded schools and melted children last fall. Happy, honest news? That's hot.

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