Monday, November 18, 2013

Beyond the price tag: Black Friday and fair-trade gifts

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 1:32 PM

  • Shutterstock
As someone with no pressing desire to take on the chaos, crowds and pure insanity of Black Friday, I can't say I will have the pleasure of hiding away this year, as a new employee of the riveting realm of retail.

I am about to enter into the world of sleep-deprived, caffeinated and on-a-mission moms armed with nothing other than the pure blood-boiling drive to check all 30-plus items off their shopping list.

Forced into this world, I will be a part of the annual event that brings out the dedicated, albeit slightly crazy, bargain shoppers. Stores, including the one I work for, are opening as early as the night before to jack up the sales.

But with all the craziness that this pinnacle of shopping days brings, I can't help but think about the growing consumerism that is occurring in our country, land of the largest consumers in the world. With an estimated 225,000,000 shoppers spending $55.77 billion in one day, this day sheds light on the careless commercialism that plagues society.

But, with the rise of businesses promoting fair trade, sustainable and local products, it is encouraging to see a paradigm shift taking place. Take Yobel Market, located in downtown Colorado Springs, a place for the "conscientious" consumer to shop unique, handcrafted gifts from around the world that are all fairly traded and sustainably created. As a volunteer-run, community-based organization that travels worldwide to empower impoverished and exploited groups of people, they help to foster sustainable production processes. 

Yobel Market will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Black Friday, with discounts on these "fairly made goods" ranging from 20%-50% off. What's even cooler is all their handcrafted goods come with a backstory of who and where it was made as a brief peek into the face of the maker.

And they're just one instance of a local company seeking to offer something other than cheap goods at a price of meager wages and subpar working conditions.  

So, this Black Friday, whether you're interested in saving a couple of bucks or finding the perfect holiday gift, I encourage you to look for alternative ways to do so that supports fair trade, sustainable practices. And, in doing so, you'll find a safe haven for everybody.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Five things your mother would never expect for Mother's Day

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 4:47 PM

There's all the obvious stuff, like flowers, cards and chocolatey goodness, but those things lack imagination. They're so overdone that we felt the need to depart from the paved and predictable Mom-appreciation road. Dear friends, please excuse the self-promotion and consider these humble suggestions a list less-traveled from our Garden of the Goods team.


1. A gift certificate to a pawn shop. Right? She'd never see it coming, and nothing says I LOVE YOU MOM! like NASCAR memorabilia and decorative knives! 

2. A zip line tour of Manitou Springs or a hot air balloon ride. This one is for moms who think adventure is driving to the mall alone. Is your mom terrified of heights? Then, yep — this is the perfect present for her.

3. A good shellacking. Fooled ya! We're talking nails here. It's springtime, and if your mom wants to wear sandals, her toes might need a coat of paint. But if you're more concerned about the state of her car, then proceed to #4. 

4. Wheel alignment. You know how you borrowed your mom's car that one time and curb-checked it at speed you now regret? Instead of confessing, you can make it right by giving her the gift of more efficient driving. Ta-da... You're a star!

5. Meat. Yes, vegetables are nice. But you know what's better? Bison, beef, lamb, pork and chicken! If you're feeling extra thoughtful, you might also suggest that your mom make you some Pappardelle's Pasta as a comfy noodle-bed for all that protein.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fungus among us

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM

What a great way to start out the day.

I was sifting through my inbox, the usual clutter of press releases, social media alerts (re-tweets, follows, etc.) and business mail (nothing personal ever, I swear ... really).

And then my eyes came across it: "Laser Toenail Fungus Removal for Two Toes."

Regardless if $99, down from $350, is a good deal, I honestly just don't care to ponder fungus first thing in the morning — nor its removal by lasers (whatever that smells like) — nor somebody's foot with two new clean toes standing in stark contrast to three Incredible Hulk rejects.

My first thought, of course, was "Ick!"

My second thought, a few seconds later, was "Ick! Still not over it."

But my third thought was "This doesn't sound like LivingSocial, the supposedly discerning company I co-profiled here back in June 2011.

The company whose representative said, "We know what's hot, exciting and what the trends are."

("Welcome to Colorado Springs — home of General Palmer's legacy, the military, churches, an increasing quantity of pho eateries and, who could forget, fungal toes.")

But in fairness, that same representative did say, "For us it's not about driving a coupon, it's about creating an experience."

My point to this meandering story is that here, today, fungus-in-mind, I'm officially calling bullshit.

I'm fine with all the restaurant discounts and event the excess of massage and spa treatment offerings — I'll give them their "experience" points on those.

But even looking again at today's email blast, tell me exactly what thrill you'd get from an auto glass replacement coupon:

I suppose the pet grooming is an experience for your dog, whether they like it or not.
  • I suppose the pet grooming is an "experience" for your dog, whether they like it or not.

In continued fairness, I will say that Groupon's not batting much better, particularly as it relates to lasers and your grooming habits:

I never thought Id read the word disables associated with hair growth ... fun.
  • I never thought I'd read the word "disables" associated with hair growth ... fun.

I guess I've learned a handful of things through this exercise. In summation:

1) I'm not fond of talking fungus first-thing in the morning.

2) It's about time to disable my email updates from these coupon slingers (which I only turned on as research for that earlier story — for reals).

3) I'm not buying for one minute the notion that our local reps are really sifting through the mass crap clutter to find us hidden gems of experiential greatness.

4) Lasers are multifunctional and awesome.

5) If fungus is indeed trending, may I forever stay out of fashion.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

’Tis the season for affordable art

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 7:26 PM

From the listings desk: It's the time of year for gift-y art shows, a chance for you to not only shop local and all that jazz, but to procure yourself someone you love a piece of art that's more affordable than usual. Here's a round-up of some local small works/holiday art shows. If you know of another not mentioned here, please let us know in the comments or via e-mail to

Bemis School of Art, 818 Pelham Place, 475-2444, Annual Teacher's Art Sale, a collection of ceramics, paintings, jewelry and more. Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

Business of Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1861, Art for a New Start, a show of artwork donated for families who lost their homes in the Waldo Canyon Fire. Selections are on a first-come, first-served basis. Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Opening reception for families and donors, Fri., Nov. 30, 6-9 p.m. Handmade Holiday, a show and sale of hand-crafted artwork and crafts from locals, with live music, warm beverages and cookies and other holiday entertainment. Saturdays, Sundays. through Dec. 25. BAC Annual Holiday Show, a showcase of the BAC's studio artists, offering up works in ceramics, painting, mixed media, print work and more. Dec. 7 through Jan. 19. Opening reception, Fri., Dec. 7, 6 p.m.

Striker Bowl by Arlyss Gross
  • From Sangre, "Striker Bowl" by Arlyss Gross

Commonwheel Artists Co-op, 102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1008, Commonwheel Artists Co-op Annual Holiday Market, a show and sale of gift-able artwork by over 35 Colorado artists. Through Jan 6.

Cottonwood on Tejon, 214½ N. Tejon St., Holiday Boutique, an art show and sale, featuring pieces from Colorado artists, all under $100.

Fare Bella Studio and Gallery, Tracy Miller Fine Art.
  • From Fare Bella Studio and Gallery and Tracy Miller Fine Art.

Cup and Bowl Gallery, 116 Midway Ave., Pueblo, 719/404-3469, A Cup & Bowl Christmas, an exhibition of work from Linda Cates, Kuky Harrington, Maria Hughes and Laura Lester. Opening reception, Fri., Dec. 7 , 5 p.m.

Fare Bella Studio and Gallery, 16 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, 720/226-4315. 100 for $100, a holiday art show featuring original works by Coni Grant, Patti Filler, Laura Reilly and others. Also held in Tracy Miller Fine Art. Nov. 30 to Dec. 31. Opening reception, Fri., Nov. 30, 6 p.m.

Gallery 113, 113 N. Tejon St., 634-5299, Art Gift Show, as the name implies, handmade items ranging from scarves and jewelry to photographs, stone arts and prints. Nov. 28 through Dec. 25. Opening reception, Fri., Dec. 7, 5 p.m.

Kreuser Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave., 630-6347, Holiday Art Market, a sale featuring art work from local artists like Carole Reece, Marie David, Dana Long, Tim Davis, Randall Barbera, Abigail Kreuser and others. Through Nov. 30.

Mardosz Fine Art Gallery, 109 S. Corona St., Miniatures Show, a series of small paintings by Chuck Mardosz, Eric Michaels, Richard Dahlquist and Dean Mabe. Through Dec. 31.

Marmalade at Smokebrush, 219 W. Colorado Ave., #210, 444-1012, CHRISZAIHAMANKUS, a seasonal group art show with works by Don Goede, Kat and Bob Tudor, Jeff Kallaus, Justin Kovach and others. Opening reception, with a short play by Ethan Engel and Jennifer Mulson, music by the New Depressionists and Crystal & the Curious, and more. Fri., Dec. 7, 6 p.m.

Modbo, 17C E. Bijou St., 633-4240, Fifth Annual Small Works Show, a show and sale of nearly 300 works of art, all under 24 inches in each dimension, and hung salon-style in the galleries. Also held in S.P.Q.R. Opening reception, Fri., Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m. to midnight.

Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, 719/295-7200, Own Your Own Art Show & Sale, Sangre's annual art bonanza, with walls filled top to bottom with reasonably priced artwork for the holidays. Through Dec. 29.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

UPDATE: From the bargain hunter's bag: It's back!

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 9:12 AM

While trying to find a parking spot for a trip to Republic of Paws on Saturday, I accidentally found myself driving by the "Super Secret Saver Sale" at 2409 W. Cucharras St. and saw that the door was wide open. Turns out the sale is actually running Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Shopping for a bargain, especially shoes

And don't be alarmed when you drive up and see the windows covered in brown paper. That's been common to each of the former sales. Just head on in and start shopping. There's plenty to be found inside. (But bring your cash or checkbooks. They're not accepting credit cards.)

——-ORIGINAL POST: 2012-08-16 16:29:50——-

I do love the unofficial shopping beat I have here at the Indy, primarily because I get to share news like that which came in to me via a phone call this morning.


The "Eighth Street sale," AKA "Girls Just Want to Have Fun Sale," AKA the "Crazy Lady Sale," has opened its doors once again, this time as the "Super Secret Saver Sale."

The doing of local estate sale company Rachel T. Wescott & Associates, Inc., this always-massive offering of deeply discounted women's designer clothing, shoes and accessories, is hanging out this year at 2409 W. Cucharras St., in Old Colorado City's former Surplus City building.

It's only open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting today and running Tuesdays through Thursdays for an unspecified period of time. So make good use of those lunch hours, ladies, and no fighting over the Jimmy Choos.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From the bargain-hunter's bag: Yard sale time!

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 5:08 PM

So excited to pick up a flier at Colorado Coffee Merchants for the Venetian Village yard sale, happening this weekend. Next to the Old North End sale, which happened earlier this summer, this is one of the best opportunities to grab some great deals, and get a little sun while doing it.


On top of that, the new Ivywild Facebook page says that neighborhood, too, will be having a sale this weekend:

From Ivywilder Martin:
The first annual community wide yard sale is coming up soon!
The dates are Friday August 3rd, Saturday August 4th and Sunday August 5th. - 9am to 4pm.

We are trying to encourage all neighbors to participate. Please pass the word around. This is just like having a normal yard sale at your house, however we are trying to get everyone in the neighborhood to do it on the same weekend. Hoping to create some synergy, Ivywild-style!

And specifically for dancers, the following Saturday, Aug. 11, Ormao Dance Company, 10 S. Spruce St., will host a "Bring & Buy" dancer-specific yard sale. Bring and donate those leotards that don't fit anymore, or those brand-spankin'-new ballet shoes you bought and then took two classes in before stuffing them in the back of your closet (... um ... no, I'm not speaking from experience ... well, OK, maybe I am ...).

Then purchase someone else's worn-once recital costume (Halloween, anyone?), or tap shoes they purchased and wore once before stuffing them in the back of their closet .... It'll also be a great place for all you parents to bring the dance wear your kiddos grow out of every six months, recoup some costs, and inexpensively stock up for next year.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Mountain Chalet helping displaced residents

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 12:43 PM

This exact Patagonia coat may not be among the donations, but others will be.
  • This exact Patagonia coat may not be among the donations, but others will be.

A couple changes of clothes don't make up for an entire lost wardrobe; just ask any Waldo Canyon Fire victim. The thought of all that needs replacing is almost as overwhelming as the reality of how new shirts, new pants, new everything cripples the bank account.

So vendors of locally owned downtown fixture Mountain Chalet have chipped in to help refill closets; they've donated hundreds of items to be given away at Mountain Shadows Park on Flying W Ranch Road from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow.

In an email yesterday, the store's Michael Carsten told us, "I am currently sitting on 250 pair[s] of shoes from La Sportiva and what remains of 200 pieces of Patagonia." The store has since received 400 pieces of Horny Toad gear.

Beneficiaries can take up to two donations and must have a form of identification listing a Mountain Shadows address. It's not that they want to be sticklers, Carsten says; they just need to ensure that those affected by the fire can receive what the vendors donated to them. The labels up for grabs, after all, don't exactly come cheap. According to Carsten, including four men's Patagonia coats valued at more than $500, the total retail cost for the donations is in excess of $70,000.

This will be Mountain Chalet's second giveaway event for fire victims. The first was last Saturday, which featured clothing and shoes from Patagonia, Ibex and Oboz, as well as Vapur water bottles.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Enter summer with Autumn

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Angelina Dress

Those sweaters you’ve been living in all winter no longer make the cut, ladies. Pagosa Springs-based Autumn Teneyl Designs has funky tops, bottoms, dresses and outerwear that could liven up your summer wardrobe. And you can find them all at a trunk show tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the downtown YMCA, 207 N. Nevada Ave., with Loretta Milo, a longtime company partner who will host during her Nia Technique training.
Voodoo Chile Dress

If you can’t make the show this evening, you'll have plenty more opportunities to check out Autumn Teneyl Designs. There will be more shows from June 3 to June 6 at the Spin Summit, which will be at the La Foret Conference and Retreat Center, 6145 Shoup Road, in the Ponderosa Lodge. The hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and 8 to 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Textile manufacturing can be unforgiving to the environment, so company namesake and fashion designer Autumn Teneyl takes precautions. Teneyl uses domestically made organic, natural and synthetic fabrics for her designs, and the company offsets 100 percent of operational and travel costs by buying renewable energy credits.

All clothes are handmade and sewn in Denver, too. To meet demand, Autumn Teneyl Designs began a partnership this year with Southwest Creations Collaborative, a women’s collaborative sew house, to employ low-income women and “alleviate poverty and build economic opportunity across generations.” So not only can you look chic; you can help others while stylin' and profilin'.

Here is what the collections are about in Teneyl’s own words:

"When I set out to make a new collection each season, it is with functional, conscious beauty in mind. My goal is to make each piece the first thing I would grab myself for an evening out or a day around town. The foundation of my collections is domestic organic cotton and hemp fabrics. I spend many hours sourcing and developing my color palettes to create distinction and harmony within each collection. The versatility is intended to reach every woman: the tailored, modern lines are very city appropriate, yet the functionality and comfort allow for a very natural fit & freedom of movement.…”

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Sir Richard's Condoms: 'Doing good never felt better'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 9:56 AM


It's National Condom Week. And there's a rubber company headquartered in Boulder that's helping you do good in more ways than one.

Specifically in honor of the Feb. 14 through 21 Condom Week, Sir Richard's Condom Company is asking those of you on Facebook or Twitter to simply share the news via their website. For each person who does, Sir Richard's will donate one condom to Haiti. It's a part of the company's larger "for every condom purchased, a condom is given to a developing country" project.

Most recently the company committed a donation of 500,000 condoms to Haiti:


Sir Richard's prides itself in producing a high-quality product with "carefully sourced ingredients." Their website describes their condoms as being made from 100 percent natural latex, free of glycerin, spermicide and parabens, and — especially for vegans — free of the dairy product casein. In Colorado Springs, you can find them at Whole Foods Market, or many of our local independent grocers, including Mountain Mama Natural Foods.

Now that you can be sure you or your partner's junk will be wrapped in the best glove possible, it's probably also worth mentioning, for those with a discerning eye, that these are perhaps the most fashion-forward condom packages in the industry. There's a different color plaid for just about any outfit. Get it on, Colorado!


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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Give the gift of protein on Valentine's

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 7:18 AM

Yobel Market co-owner Donavan Kennedy and I remember what a drag Valentine's Day used to be. Several years ago, both of us worked at the Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant, and the week of Valentine's we were always slammed — booked effing solid, extended hours be damned. Apparently nothing's more romantic than melted cheese and an exhausted staff on the most predictable day of the year.

I suspect he looks back on those times more fondly than I do — fitting of someone who helped start such a compassionate business — but I'm pretty jazzed to watch each V-Day go by with no effort on my part.

Except maybe this: the gift of chickens to a family in need. For $20, you can send a dozen chickens to a family in Uganda, which will not only provide the family with valuable protein and possible income, but a renewable resource to boot. The chicks will be hand-delivered to families living at Canaan Farm through Family Empowerment Uganda (a Christian organization, FYI). Give Yobel your e-mail address and you'll receive a receipt of delivery and a photo of the family.


For an extra $5, you can buy the chicks and take home a "Peeps bouquet" with a card explaining your gift. That way, there's something more traditionally sweet for your Valentine.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yobel Market celebrates successes, looks forward

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 6:58 AM

2011 was a busy year for local fair trade marketplace Yobel Market.

Among the list of accomplishments: $2,200 given to clean-water programs; 64 goats given to projects in Rwanda and Uganda; seven women who learned to sew in Juarez, Mexico, and $15,000 given to build a school in Uganda.

Donovan Kennedy (left) with Sarah Ray, co-owners of Yobel Market.
  • Yobel Market
  • Donovan Kennedy (left) with Sarah Ray, co-owners of Yobel Market.

The school in Uganda was the most exciting achievement this year for Yobel Market co-founder Donovan Kennedy. According to Kennedy, the school was four years in the making and was the result of three components: work by the local elementary schools; the Market setting aside a third of their profits for the project, and money that came from selling bricks in the store.

Kennedy adds that the school was a huge community need and saves a lot of kids from what would otherwise be a two-hour trek every day.

Yobel Market, located at 2528 W. Colorado Ave., also engaged in four "exposure trips" in 2011, which Kennedy says translates to "exposing our culture to theirs." These trips usually consist of between four to 25 volunteers, who pay their own way. These volunteers do anything from helping women out of prostitution by teaching them to sew or make journals which are sold in the store, to providing to some manual labor for the building of the school in Uganda.

"[This is] an opportunity for a job with dignity," Kennedy says.

In March 2012, Yobel Market is looking forward to another trip to Uganda where they will be doing some business training with the hopes of making their students a little more self-sufficient.

Kennedy and co-founder Sarah Ray also hope to receive nonprofit status for the Market, having submitted an application to the IRS in December.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

From the bargain-hunter's bag

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 9:13 AM


Sad news for downtown shoppers in my inbox this morning: Ellie K Boutique (230 N. Tejon St.) is going out of business.

The upside to this downside? The Going Out of Business Sale (and, as you'll read, the baby on the way). Here are all the details, from owner Sara King:

Goodbye, Friends!

To all of our wonderful, loyal customers -

It has been a fun year and a half getting to know all of you and the store has definitely been a fun adventure....but our first little baby girl is on the way and we decided to close the store so that I can stay home with her full-time!

Which means...this weekend we are starting our "Going Out of Business" sale! I wanted you all to be the first to know to get a jump-start on everyone else. :) I will be posting the news on Facebook later on today. Saturday we will put up the official signs (and finish the markdowns on all the jeans). Then we will hopefully start advertising the sale other places soon.

Since baby girl is due the beginning of April, we are hoping we can have everything wrapped up by the end of March. So please tell your friends and also keep in mind we are selling most of the fixtures too (just in case you know of someone who might be interested in them!). We will have a list of which fixtures are for sale and how much we are asking for them on the front counter.

So here is the good news for all of you!

ALL True Religion jeans - 50% off
ALL Hudson, AG, Joe's Jeans, J Brand, 7 For All Mankind, and Rock Revival jeans - 40% off
Tops, tanks, sweaters, skirts, dresses, etc. - 30-50% off (most everything is 40% off)
Scarves - 30% off
Jewelry and charms - 30% off
Belts and hats - 50% off

We do still have one small rack of brand new Free People tops at full price. But they are so cute and so worth it! :) (You can see pictures of them on Facebook.)

Hope to see you soon!

Come see us soon to have the best pick of sizes and styles....especially in the jeans...those sizes go fast! Where else can you find such amazing deals on True Religion, Hudson, Joe's Jeans, 7 For All Mankind, Free People, Ella Moss, Splendid, C&C California and more?!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


Sara King
Ellie K Boutique

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Friday, December 23, 2011

The gifting isn't over yet

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Looking for one more really last-minute gift? How about a calendar?

You've got three local options (that we know of at least...)

1) The Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Local 5 annual calendar.


Yes, the Springs has its very own firefighters calendar. And, yes, I tried to get you some inside photo samples, but alas, you'll just have to trust me on this one. You can purchase copies for $15 at Colorado Coffee Merchants, 302 E. Fillmore St.

2) The Expressions of Hope AspenPointe annual art calendar.


Filled with art by wounded Fort Carson soldiers this year, purchases of this calendar will go to support art therapy programs at AspenPointe. Purchase online for $10 each.

3) The Original 365 Days of Kittens a Year calendar.


OK, this one's not locally produced, but it's got a local cat in it.


Boom is featured in the month of September, and is cared for by locals Jon and Avery Maddaloni. You'll find this calendar by Workman Publishing at book and calendar stores all around town, retailing for $12.99.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Get your holiday on at Front Range BBQ tonight

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Friends, you know you should finish your holiday shopping, but hitting the mall is a scary thing. We do understand.

So, tonight at Front Range Barbeque (2330 W. Colorado Ave.), you can avoid parking-lot hell and crap from China, drink a beer or two, AND support a couple good causes. Shopping heaven, perhaps?

From 6-9 p.m., nine artists, including Brienne Boortz, one of our freelance photographers, will be selling their wares, while Odell Brewing Co. has a special tapping of three beers.

On top of all that, there will be a $1 raffle, to benefit Greccio Housing and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), with some really cool prizes from places like Boulder Running Company, Briarhurst Manor Estate and the Indy's 2011 Best Hair Stylist, Chrystal Allen. Could it get any better? Really?

Get all the details below.


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Shopping tips from

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Isaac shares some tips and basics.

Between Gift Guides and deep in the season of shopping, we decided to consult Carrie Isaac of for shopping tips. Isaac was voted Best Local Blogger by Indy readers in both 2010 and 2011.

Her best advice:

Have multiple gift ideas for your recipients. If you're stuck on one item for each person on your list, it's harder to find a great deal as the clock is ticking. Keep several gift ideas in mind so that you'll have more options to choose from if you're looking for a deal.

Always, always search for a coupon code if shopping online. I don't have any favorite sites for coupon codes (other than!); I typically just google the website name and use Google's search tools to find items that have been posted in the past 1-7 days to see if there's a valid coupon code available.

Shop locally instead of paying rush shipping. If you're shopping so close to Christmas that you have to pay for rush shipping, consider seeing if a local store has it — you'll often end up spending less by buying it locally than paying for rush shipping. And, don't be afraid to call a local store to see if they have it in stock!

Remember that everybody loves a gift card! A lot of people think that buying gift cards is a cop-out, but has anyone really ever received a gift card they didn't like? Gift cards are a great last-minute gift, and you can make it more personal by wrapping it in a more personalized way. Also, consider adding a little bonus gift: For instance, if you purchased someone a gift card to a local boutique, buy an inexpensive accessory to give along with the gift card.

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