Excuse me while I hug this palm tree.

Damn, it feels good to be in Florida, to bring Sensi back home to the enviable denizens of the Sunshine State. Five years ago, I was one of you, living my best life in Miami, no intentions of moving to any place where winter was more than just a concept.

But then on January 6, 2015, I picked up my journal and wrote “I think I want to move to Denver.” I had never been to Colorado. I knew no one there. But that spring, I packed up and headed west—no prospects, no plans, just faith that I was on the right path.

While I was driving, Ron Kolb was at his home in Ocala dreaming. He was struck by a vision for a series of city lifestyle magazines on a mission to showcase a post-prohibition world—a world in which cannabis is a beneficial part of a well-rounded lifestyle in any city. He envisioned Sensi magazine as a vehicle to help guide us there. And then he moved to Colorado. Turns out he was looking for a partner, and there I was. Now here we are, back home among the palm trees, frolicking with flamingos, just a hundred miles or so from where we started.

During the period in between, we launched Sensi Denver/Boulder in May 2016, followed by Sensi Southern Colorado one year later. Then we added three editions in Southern California, then one in Vegas, then one in Boston, taking Sensi coast -to-coast in two years flat. We added more markets and a few “Publication of the Year” awards along the way. (Yes, I’m bragging. I’m proud of our whole team and of the work we produce, the messages we spread, the vibes we vibe.) I’m so very thrilled to add Sensi Tampa Bay as our 14th market.

We have the chance to showcase that lifestyle to cities where “the new normal” isn’t quite as normal yet. It’s an opportunity we don’t take lightly, and I’m humbled whenever I take a step back from the magazine-making frenzy and consider how incredible it is to be a part of a team of people driven to make a difference, to spark change in their communities, to stand up as advocates for the end of the madness that convinced generations of people to fear a plant that’s long been known to provide so much good.

Stephanie Wilson

On the Calendar: Tampa Bay February 2020

It’s February. Love is in the air and pitcher and catchers have reported to spring training. The Tampa Bay area is alive with events that run the gamut from yoga to ferris wheel rides, with concerts by living legends sprinkled in the mix. Get out there and find your happening.

8th Annual Yoga and Music Festival

February 1, 2020
The Lotus Pond, Tampa

Prepare for a full day of movement and instruction closing with a group kirtan session.

Financial Fitness Fair

February 1, 2020
Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association, Tampa


David Wilcox

February 3, 2020
Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa


Florida State Fair

February 6–17, 2020
4800 US Hwy. 301 North, Tampa


Billy Joel

February 7, 2020
Amalie Arena, Tampa


An African Night of Love

February 14, 2020
2005 N. Lamar Ave., Tampa

Tickets on Eventbrite
This Valentine’s happening promises to stimulate all five senses.

Willie Nelson

February 14, 2020
Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater

He endures. Don’t miss your chance to see the legend live.

Mean Girls the Musical

February 18–23, 2020
Staz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa


Tampa Bay Chocolate Festival

February 20, 2020
Carrollwood Cultural Center, Tampa

Local food trucks will gather to dish out everything from meals made with the heavenly treat to desserts that are sure to wow.

Spring Training: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays

February 23, 2020
Charlotte Sports Park, Charlotte

It’s the bad guys versus the good guys—all depending on where your allegiance lies. No matter what, it’s one spring training game you should put on the schedule, with last year’s top two teams in the AL East revving up for the 2020 season.

Dunedin is just across the bay but a world away

Most days of the year, Dunedin appears to be a forgotten outpost of Old Florida, tucked along the central gulf coast. About an hour west of Tampa with a population one-tenth the size, Dunedin can appear to the passersby heading to neighboring Clearwater Beach to be a quiet, tiny coastal town billing itself as a city on the welcome signs marking the borders of the so-small-if-you-blink-you’ll-miss-it downtown.

Don’t blink, and the multihued buildings lining the streets may catch your eye. Here old-world architecture dosed with acid orange, bright green, and grape hues showcases an artistic charm. Strategically placed around town, large-scale sculptures double as bicycle racks, and the Navel-orange-themed graffiti kicks up an artful vibe, a siren call of sorts to laid-back creative types, drawing them in to experience Dunedin’s ever-growing charms.

And this month, they descend upon Dunedin in droves. On February 22, 34,000 revelers are expected to come to the city for the 29th annual Dunedin Mardi Gras Parade and Festival—the largest celebration of its kind in the southeastern US. For perspective, the capacity of Universal Studios maxes out at 27,000; the population of Dunedin tallies just above 36,000. So, yeah: This. Is. Big. And it’s getting bigger every year, as people tell their people who tell their people about that aforementioned vibe. The buzz is building, and the secret is almost all the way out. Dunedin is one badass community, and it’s on the rise. Won’t be long before some high-profile travel writer describes it as an idyllic blend of funky Key West, open and artistic Provincetown, and progressively planned Austin. Go now, go often, and you’ll find yourself saying one day soon that you’ve known about Dunedin since way back when.

If you go for Mardi Gras, just be sure to get there early. The festivities run from noon through 11 p.m., with late-night raucousness spilling over into the bars and pubs. The parade kicks off at 7 p.m., winding along the packed streets of an already compact downtown. If you can swing the $135 VIP ticket—unlimited beer and wine, cocktail samplers, New Orleans–inspired menu, executive rest room access—you’ll be happy you did.

Whether or not the massive party is your kind of scene, the cacophony of the crowd is likely to drown out the vibe that’s distinctly Dunedin, so plan to either go back or stay awhile and explore. There’s a whole lot to love, no matter which way your interests lean, and we’ve rounded up some highlights.

Sigh-inducing waterfront views: Dunedin is one of the few cities with an open waterfront—for nearly four miles, palm trees are the only things blocking views of the Intracoastal and the Gulf of Mexico beyond. There’s also a one-mile stretch of Edgewater Drive south of downtown that provides views of St. Joseph Sound, Clearwater Beach, and Caladesi Island.

A Main Street mentality. The town revolves lazily around its downtown nucleus, where the aptly named Main Street is the most appealing stretch, reasonably free of tourist kitsch. Instead of mass chain retailers, downtown Dunedin is franchise-free and thriving. There are more than 100 privately owned businesses in the hip little downtown area—a charming, walkable community hugging the water’s edge where it’s easy to idle away an afternoon, wandering from home decor store to vintage shop to art gallery to ice cream parlor to a palm-fringed café for an iced coffee or a sauvignon blanc, preferably from New Zealand so you can share this fact: There’s a Dunedin, New Zealand, named after the Gaelic word for the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Dunedin, Florida, was a Scottish outpost in 1899, and the country’s influence runs deep.

Florida’s first official Trail Town designation. Bisecting downtown Main Street, the Pinellas Trail is a 15-foot-wide, 40-mile haven for walkers, skaters, and bikers that runs on an old railway route. Credited with revitalizing the downtown core, the trail has been a hit with Floridians. You’ll see bikers wandering around hitting the shops and eateries, having locked up their rides at any of the aptly named Artistic Bicycle Racks, part of the city’s larger Public Art Masterplan. A signpost stands where the Pinellas Trail crosses Main Street, pointing the way to local hot spots, shops, and galleries.

Artist colony feel. There’s a laid-back bohemian air mixed with a touch of Florida Keys flair that attracts artists, gallery owners, musicians, and artsy types. The result is a multilayered arts scene that the city government is focused on supporting and growing, with multiple initiatives enhancing the community’s sense of place and connection. Dunedin Fine Arts Center (DFAC) is a great spot to dig into the local arts scene. An art critic at the Tampa Bay Times once described it as “the artistic equivalent of a village square.” That’s a spot-on description. Much like the town that surrounds it, it’s not a stuffy, pretentious place but rather a gathering spot for the community. Come as you are; flip-flops and shorts are welcome. DFAC’s stated vision is to be the premier art center in Florida, providing educational, cultural, and creative experiences.

Craft beer pioneers. Established in 1995, Dunedin Brewery introduced Florida to craft brewing, kicking off a microbrew mania. The original brewery is credited with cultivating a hyper-local passion for craft beers, inspiring eight other breweries to open up within one mile of each other. Not a square mile, mind you. You can walk to all eight spots in a row in less than a mile, according to the Visit Dunedin’s brewery walking map.

Dedicated golf cart parking. Golf carts are a standard mode of transportation for locals, faster than walking and potentially safer than biking. While the Pinellas Trail is off-limits to the carts, they are allowed on any street with a speed limit under 30 miles per hour, and the city’s worked hard to provide plenty of streets and crossings for golf-carting residents—of which there are many heading downtown on any given weekend. On Fridays and Saturdays from November through May, the Dunedin Downtown Market in Pioneer Park becomes the hot spot for locals looking for fresh produce and gourmet items.

The beaches. One of Florida’s top-rated sandy stretches, Dunedin’s Honeymoon Island State Park has great swimming, fishing, shelling—and a Fido-friendly beach.

Spring Training stomping grounds. Dunedin is one of the smallest spring training destinations for the MLB, but that didn’t stop the Toronto Blue Jays from committing to another 25-year lease. The Toronto Blue Jays host the Atlanta Braves on February 24 for the preseason’s first home-away-from-home game—and the first game in the newly renovated stadium.

Sunset celebrations. As the sun sinks toward the water on the horizon, a nightly spectacle unfolds, painting the sky mystically vibrant shades of pinks, oranges, purples, and blues. All it takes to cement adoration for Dunedin is a seat along the seawall at dusk. Take it in, lean in. Or lean back. You’ll catch the vibe.

February Horoscope

Jan. 20–Feb. 18

Sometimes you do know what’s best for the people you love, but this month is all about celebrating what people can do without your assistance. Explore your own potential without the burden of helping others.

Feb. 19–March 20

Don’t be surprised if a new job or major project presents itself to you. As reluctant as you may be to let go of your current situation, your legacy may be better served by considering what the universe is offering.

March 21–April 19

Concentrate on loving yourself this month. It’s not about proving yourself; it’s about filling yourself up and supporting your unique energy. February resonates with the signs of Aquarius (power of mind) and Pisces (power of intuitive). These are the elements to balance.

April 20–May 20

You will meet two amazing people. The man is a leader in his industry who has earned everything he has. The woman is unconditional love in action. Pay attention to the impression they leave with you.

May 21–June 20

You may feel frustrated that some people are questioning your credibility. They may not be the people to align with in the future. However, if these people have struck a nerve, that may indicate a skill to hone.

June 21–July 22

Ignore any past “stuff” this month. Although you may feel an innate obligation to heal, it is not your responsibility to do so. It’s time to forget the past and move forward. Trust yourself enough to enjoy this life.

July 23–Aug. 22

Claim your spotlight this month. This is the month of announcements and commitments to a new future. The unjust element of last year has finally fallen away, and as such, your mojo and energy are (again) being celebrated.

Aug. 23–Sept. 22

Are you being stingy with your power? Have you done for people at the same level that they have done for you? Have you kept your promises? Are you telling the truth (not your version of it)? Balance the scales: reciprocity is your gift this month.

Sept. 23–Oct. 22

Perhaps your dream is about to be fulfilled because you take an interest in your art or hobby. The more interested you are in the people who have followed their dreams, the more ideas and inspiration come to you.

Oct. 23–Nov. 21

There are people who deserve your forgiveness. The grudge(s) you’re hanging onto could hinder the good energy coming toward you. There may be a new career opportunity that presents itself by the end of May, though you may hear about it this month.

Nov. 22–Dec. 21

You’re discovering what love means. You’ve figured out the emotional and financial issues and gotten yourself back on track. Your priorities are moving in the right direction, and you’ve accepted what you can and cannot do. Blessings on all of this!

Dec. 22–Jan. 19

There’s a mistaken belief that Capricorns are cold and unemotional. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are drawn to puppies and kittens and are incredibly loyal to long-time relationships. You feel things to the core of your being; it’s time to let others see a glimpse of that.

Coliving is taking off because it addresses two of our most important social challenges.

Loneliness is a killer, more dangerous than obesity and smoking. Studies have found it leads to heart disease, stroke, and immune system problems, and it could even impair cancer recovery. A researcher at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark found loneliness a strong predictor of premature death, declining mental health, and lower quality of life in cardiovascular patients, and a Brigham Young University professor’s meta-analysis of studies from around the world found that socially isolated adults have a 50 percent greater risk of dying from any cause than people who have community.

That’s sobering, especially when you consider that 40 percent of American adults suffer from loneliness, according to an AARP study. And it’s one reason coliving—a new form of housing in which residents with similar interests, values, or intentions share living space, costs, and amenities—is exploding.

Coliving situations run a spectrum, from the resident-driven model to small homes with a half-dozen or so people to massive corporate complexes like The Collective tower with 550 beds in London. Residents, who stay anywhere from a few days to several years and usually don’t have to sign a lease or pay a security deposit, sleep in their own small private rooms (sometimes with bathrooms) and share common spaces such as large kitchens and dining areas, gardens, and work areas. They’re encouraged to interact with one another, often through organized happy hours and brunches. Ollie, which operates coliving spaces in New York and other cities, advertises that “friends are included.”

“Coliving is different than just having roommates, who may be people you found on Craigslist and just happen to share [your] living space. It’s done with more intention,” says Christine McDannell, who lived in unincorporated coliving houses for years before she launched Kindred Quarters, a coliving operator with homes in San Diego and Los Angeles, in 2017.

Author of The Coliving Code: How to Find Your Tribe, Share Resources, and Design Your Life, McDannell also runs Kndrd, a software company for coliving managers and residents, and she hosts the weekly Coliving Code Show every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Soundcloud, and coliving.tv. She has watched—and helped—the industry grow up, and she’s amazed at how few, if any, horror stories she hears. That’s largely because millennials—by far the largest demographic among colivers—are accustomed to sharing and being held accountable through online reviews, she adds.

“You just don’t hear the crazy stories about roommating with strangers in an unfamiliar city,” she says. “When people write bad reviews, it’s usually about the Wi-Fi.”

As companies fat with funding expand into cities across the globe, coliving is newly corporatized—but it’s hardly a novel concept. Boarding houses provided rooms and shared meals for single men and women in the 19th and early 20th centuries; one of the most famous, the Barbizon Hotel in New York, was a “club residence for professional women” from 1927 until the 1980s.

People lived communally throughout most of history until industrialization facilitated privatization of family life and housing throughout the 20th century—with a few disruptions. In Israel, people have been living in communal villages called kibbutzim for more than 100 years. In the US, hippies attempted to create communes in the 1960s, but they were destroyed by free love, drugs, and egos (which did a lot to discourage coliving, even today).

At the same time in Denmark, however, cohousing (an earlier iteration of coliving) was emerging as a way to share childcare. Today, more than 700 communities thrive in Denmark. In Sweden, the government provides cohousing facilities.

A handful of cohousing communities following the Danish model have been established in the US, and hacker houses are common in tech capitals like Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas, but the concept has been slow to catch on until recently.

As it becomes increasingly impossible for mere mortals to afford skyrocketing rents in desirable cities, Americans are coming around to coliving and finding creative solutions to all sorts of social issues. Older women are shacking up together following the Golden Girls model. Coabode.org matches single moms who want to raise kids together. At Hope Meadows in Chicago, retirees live with foster kids.

The opportunity to pay lower rent (in many but not all cases) and share expenses makes all the difference in places like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. When New York–based coliving operator Common opened a development with 24 furnished spaces in Los Angeles for between $1,300 and $1,800 a month, more than 9,000 people applied.

McDannell says coliving is exploding because it solves important challenges that plague modern society. “People are signing away their paychecks on rent and feeling increasingly isolated,” she wrote in “Why We’re Building a CoLiving Community Ecosystem” on LinkedIn. “It is due time that HaaS (Housing as a Service) disrupts the antiquated industry of property management and real estate.”

Florida’s most conspicuous bird is born this way.

Florida is awash with iconography of the flamingo. Depictions of the tall, lanky bird with pink-orange plumage, a bent bill, and stick-like legs pop up everywhere: lottery tickets, cocktail napkins, key chains, front lawns, the opening credits of Miami Vice. The word itself is unescapable. The emblematic moniker flamingo is used in the name of buildings, boutiques, and boulevards coast to coast. All proof that the flamingo is the enduring symbol of the Sunshine State. But until 2018, the bird was considered just another tourist or transplant. Put another way, a nonnative species here to take advantage of the warm climate and natural resources.

Which kinda makes sense. I mean, have you ever seen a wild flamingo in Florida? Rhetorical question. Although you might have seen Pinky, a lone bird with coral-colored feathers that’s been hanging out in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge for the last 15 months. First spotted on Halloween 2018, Pinky the Flamingo is thought to have hitched a ride on the Category 5 monster Hurricane Michael to the panhandle from the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s been known to happen. American, or Caribbean, flamingos were spotted in the refuge four hours north of Tampa in 1927, 1965, 1972, and 1995, each time after a hurricane that followed the same path Michael blew through.

Four hundred miles to the south and two hundred years in the past, flamingos were common in Florida. In the 19th century, early naturalists reported spotting large flocks with hundreds if not thousands of the long-limbed birds clustered amid the state’s aquatic landscape. According to a study led by Zoo Miami biologists published in The Condor journal in 2018, the earliest account of a flamingo sighting in Florida was recorded near Tampa in 1827. Over the next 70 years, reports of large flocks—hundreds, even thousands of flamingos—were reported throughout the southern part of the state. But by the early 20th century, Florida’s native flamingo population had been hunted and poached to extinction.

Or so everyone thought. But by the 1950s and ’60s, flamingos began popping up in the wild again—a long-necked bird spotted here, a rosy-pink pair reported there. They were assumed to be escapees from domestic flocks being kept around the state.

By the early 1970s, growing groups of the social birds caught the attention of birders, who were reporting more and more frequent sightings. By 2014, a flock of 147 flamingos was spotted in rural Palm Beach County. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FFWC) considered the bird a nonnative species, but the growing population couldn’t be attributed to zoo denizens on the lam. Where are the birds coming from?

Turns out, flamingos have been hiding here all along, researchers concluded after looking at early explorers’ notes, museum specimens, and birding reports gathered over the last two centuries. Their findings, published in The Condor, determined that the flamingos in Florida aren’t captive escapees of an invasive species; the birds are native to the Sunshine State. Soon after the report was published, flamingos were removed from the list of nonnative species on FFWC’s website. It turns out Florida’s feathery cultural icon is a true Floridian after all.

Exploring the amorous side of cannabis.

Cannabis is often championed as a cure for bedroom ailments, while at the same time often being misunderstood or simply (if cautiously) being introduced as an acceptable commonplace component to one’s love tackle-box, much like a bottle of wine and 1970s R+B is for some or a Tinder match on a Tuesday night and fistful of Viagra is for others.
Seth Prosterman, a San Francisco–based certified sex therapist, told Vice in 2017 that weed isn’t a one-way ticket to pleasure town, but it can help you get there.

“While pot can help bring out our most sexy selves, disinhibit us, or relax us during sex, I would highly recommend that people learn to be in the moment and deeply feel and connect with their partners without using enhancing drugs,” says Prosterman. “Pot can give us a glimpse of our sexual potential. Working toward our sexual potential, with our partners, is part of developing a higher capacity for intimacy, passion, and deep connection.”

Depending on what social media feeds you’re attuned to, it’s not hard these days to get at least one story fanned your way in a month about something to do with weed and sex. Sure, some of it is just fluffy prose, and some of it just states the painfully obvious. You don’t need Cosmopolitan to tell you that “getting too high can backfire on your sex life [because it] it makes you too sleepy to have any. Don’t eat a whole pot brownie, and then expect to feel horned up and ready to go.” 

That said, there are more and more mavens and mavericks—as well as manufactured goods, experiences, and bold claims—orbiting the Stoned Sex star. Take, for example, Ashley Manta, sex coach, relationship educator, and proud “cannasexual”—one who’s concerned with mindfully combining weed and sex for desired positive results.

Speaking to the men’s culture publication MEL magazine in 2017, Manta made it clear she’s not a blanket proselytizer intent on turning every client into a cannabis-forward sex enthusiast. “I’m not out to convert people,” she says. “If people are happy not having cannabis in their sex lives, I’m not going to tell them they’re wrong for not wanting to consider including it. My approach is more like, if you already consume cannabis or you’re open to the idea of it, here are the best practices for mixing it with sex. The idea of being cannasexual isn’t limited to one specific sex act either, or even just partnered sex. I speak of it in terms of one’s overall relationship with their body, sexuality, and self-care.” If you want to see her theory in action, her Instagram (@ashleymanta) is rife with content to back it up.

Manta is known for her cannabinoid-enhanced “play parties.” If you’re imagining a swinging group of couples gathering under the banner of self-exploration, relationship tonic, or just consenting group sex fests with weed lube, that sounds about right.

A satisfied customer, presumably still reeling in coital bliss, posted this feedback on Manta’s website: “Over the course of the night, I watched from my spot at the vape bar as [Ashley] shifted seamlessly from teacher to participant to confidant to chaperone…Nobody and no body was neglected by her. She guided the underinformed on the mindful marriage of cannabis and sex. She allowed the calming rituals of medicating with cannabis to bring those who indulged in it to that place of body-peace that only the right combination of carefully selected strains can induce.”

A glowing review, for sure. However, the science is still out about the use of specific strains as particular keys for unlocking sexy-time happiness in a universal sense.

Blazed in Love

Alcohol, on the other hand, has no shortage of both anecdote and hard facts about the good, bad, and ugly regarding drunk sex. Depending on body factors, two or more alcoholic beverages will depress the central nervous system, leading to limp noodles for men, reduced clitoral sensitivity in women, and unsatisfying romps.

There are plenty of positive studies coming out about general findings on cannabis and sex interacting. In 2018, Stanford researchers released findings on the largest study to date that compiled info on sex and marijuana. The data set included 28,176 women and 22,943 men, average age 30, who formed a reasonably representative sample of the US population, according to a Psychology Today column, which reported: “Compared with cannabis abstainers, men who used it weekly reported 22 percent more sex, women 34 percent more. Among those who used marijuana more than weekly, sexual frequency increased even more. This study did not ask if participants found cannabis sex-enhancing, but to an extent, that can be inferred.”

No study exists to confirm that cannabis can totally impair sexual function the way alcohol can, but that doesn’t mean all green means go. Dr. Jordan Tishler knows that well. He’s the founder of the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Inhale MD, which specializes in cannabis therapeutics, including the intersection of cannabis and human sexuality.

Tishler says people read things on the internet, dive into discussions about different strains and cannabis topicals (see: weed lube), or cook romantic-dosed dinners for loved ones, and that’s fine. “Those things certainly play a factor,” he says, “but generally it’s not my recommended approach regarding cannabis altering sexuality.”

It comes down to a lack of a standard of research and understanding. If you were to ask 20 casual CBD preachers about its positive effect during sex, you’d get 20 answers. To those who claim it’s the golden ticket to getting laid, Tishler says keep it in your pants.

“CBD for sexuality is a nonstarter,” he says. “It doesn’t provoke libido…. It may help with anxiety or pain if that’s an issue, but what we’re really looking at in treatment of sexual dysfunction or enhancement with cannabis is how it’s used to create healthier relationships.”

Which isn’t to say the new canna-sex specialists creating new businesses and products or hawking themselves as “experts” are necessarily a bad thing in these early days of legal weed. That there are people doing this and finding an audience suggests bringing such topics and experimentation to light is meaningful to people.

“I could make jokes, but I believe it’s actually a good thing,” says Tishler, who was once asked to advise a company trying to invent a dildo that squirted out weed lube during use. “That we’re comfortable even mentioning sex with cannabis is part of the breakdown of generational stigma.”

Unlike Manta, Tishler thinks having specific strains for bedroom activities isn’t going to make a huge difference. Additionally, sexual lubricants and toys set the mood, but a successful liaison is more about body type, effect, and all interested parties being in sync with each other. Or, for those on a solo mission, in sync with one’s self.

It’s about how cannabis introduced into sexual settings or relationships is a means to stimulate the big sexy organ everyone has above their shoulders, and that, of course, is where the Infinity Stone of getting it on rests for everyone.

“Cannabis can help facilitate situations and discussions and different levels of honesty and intimacy in relationships that need it,” Tishler says. “But what we know about humans is that over 90 percent of what’s going on [to enhance and improve] sex is going on between your ears.”

Don’t let that stop you from sparking a joint next time the mood strikes. It just may take your bedroom bliss to new heights.

Precious Plastic, Untangling the Ocean, and The 90s Fashion Resurgence

  • Precious Plastic turns thrash into treasure. Read
  • Throwing shade on fishing nets. Read
  • Our editor-in-chief’s hottest hits of the month. Read
  • Old-school parties become new again. Read
  • Tampa International Airport names first bike-friendly airport in the U.S. Read

Precious Plastic

Turn your cup into a keepsake.

Single-use plastics come with a steep environmental price. Researchers at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and Eckerd College last year found over four billion plankton-sized particles of plastic floating around the waters of Tampa Bay. These small pieces can’t always be detected by the human eye, but marine life confuse them with food.

A zero-waste lifestyle is a lofty and utopian goal. Cost and convenience often stand in the way. Take, for example, the launch party for this very magazine, held on January 31 at Hyde House Tampa, a stunning new workspace in the heart of Hyde Park Village. Events can produce a ton of excess waste if there’s no reduce-reuse-recycle blueprint in place. So, Sensi partnered with the Florida chapter of a global sustainability initiative to create such a plan—a precious plan, in fact, to turn plastic cup waste into Precious Plastic.

Precious Plastic designs and develops machines to recycle plastic in various ways to create various things—from small trinkets to furniture. When there are new or updated machines are ready, the company tells the world how to make them. And they do it for free, open-source style—creating a scalable system for recycling plastic all over the globe.

“We believe knowledge should be free—an asset for humanity that shouldn’t have a price,” the Precious Plastic website reads under an “Open Source, Obviously” heading—a manifesto of sorts that explains how and why the Precious Plastic gang opted to share all outcomes of its research and development online. They do so “for the people. For the planet.”

And for Sensi’s party, the Florida star in the Precious Plastics Universe Garrett Cadou shredded down, melted up, and molded together upcycled mementos from the drink cups on site and answered questions about the whole process. Find out where he’ll be next on his Facebook page, fb.com/preciousplasticfl, and learn about the whole open-source project at preciousplastic.com.

Untangled Cool

We continue to treat fragile ocean environments like a trash heap. Case in point, an estimated 640,000 tons of discarded fishing nets and gear clog up the seas. Florida brand Costa del Mar found a smart solution to this mess: make its sunglasses for sport anglers and ocean lovers out of at least some of that plastic trash. Costa’s Untangle Our Oceans program takes discarded fishing nets from commercial operations in Chile, turns them into plastic pellets, and then uses that material to build sunglass frames. There’s no sacrifice in quality. The resulting material, which is available in five styles, is durable and the polarized glass lenses cut glare on the water.

$199–$219; costadelmar.com

Party Like It’s 1999

Old school becomes new again.

With the nostalgia of the ’90s revival including the comeback of scrunchies, old school hip-hop parties, cartoon reboots, grunge fashion, army pants, vinyl records, and the Friends craze ever present, why not celebrate like it’s Y2K?

The ’90s were the era when grunge was born; punk rock got a resurgence; indie music fests took off; personal style was nonconformist; music was insanely good, angsty, dance-worthy, and impactful (Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Tupac, N.W.A., Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, and so many more); and the teens and twentysomethings finally felt like their voices were being heard.


By Stephanie Wilson, Editor in Chief

1. Primary Focus
A New Hampshire law requires the Granite State to be the first presidential primary in the nation. This election cycle, that goes down on February 11, after which my home state becomes irrelevant for another four years.

2. Leap of Faith
While the calendar year is 365 days, it takes the Earth 365.24 days to orbit the sun. Every four years, we add an extra day to the month of February because without it, the calendar would be misaligned with the seasons by 25 days after just 100 years.

3. Born This Way
The odds of being a “leapling”—a person born on a leap day—is 1 in 1,461.

4. Right On
On February 29, some places celebrate Bachelor’s Day or Sadie Hawkins Day—both a nod to the old Irish tradition that gave women the right to propose marriage to a man on leap day. If he declined, he was required by law to pay a penalty, often in the form of gloves so she could hide the shame of her bare ring finger.

5. Modern Love
Since we’re not all Irish, but we are all feminists (because we all believe in the equality of the sexes, of course), any of us can propose to whomever our heart desires whenever we want. Except Valentine’s Day. There’s no law prohibiting it but, sweetie, pay-as-you-go forced romance is anything but romantic.

6. PETA Violation
The origins of the canned-love holiday are as cruel as a red rose delivery in February is clichéd. According to NPR, V-day traces back to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a brutal fete during which naked men sacrificed dogs and goats—and whipped women with the animal hides. Stop, in the name of love.

Two Wheels Up to TPA

Tampa International Airport earned its wings—we mean wheels—when League of American Bicyclists named it the first bike-friendly airport in the US, recognizing TPA’s support of cycling in the region. The airport is building a bicycle and pedestrian trail that loops around the new SkyCenter and the cell phone waiting lot, eventually connecting to a regional trail network and installing new bike racks and a bike repair fix-it station at the rental car center. Plus, the new airport office building will have all sorts of amenities for employees who want to bike to work, including covered parking for the two-wheelers.

Jerry Dunn conquered his demons to become one of the most accomplished ultrarunners on the planet.

Sarasotan Jerry Dunn was running barefoot decades before barefoot running became a thing. In 1975, while working as a waiter in Key West, his girlfriend’s lifeguard brother would yell, “You should be a runner!” every time he saw the tall, lanky Dunn saunter onto Siesta Key Beach. Without missing a beat, the 29-year-old would shout back, “I didn’t run in high school! I’m not an athlete! I tried running in Basic Training, and I hated it!” But one day, the lifeguard convinced the veteran to jog a half mile along the edge of the sea.

It felt so good that Dunn started running every day on the beach. “I was barefoot the whole first two years of my running career,” he says. When the Sarasota Herald Tribune held its first road 10K, Dunn bought himself his first pair of running shoes and finished in 69 minutes. He’s been running pretty much ever since, forging a lifestyle, career, mindset, and even a new line of CBD products around the sport. Dunn has completed hundreds of 26.2-milers, earning him the nickname “Marathon Man.” Running has strengthened his body and eased his brain, which he says “can get addicted to things,” and has become his way of connecting with the world.

Earning The Title

When Dunn started running, he was a functioning alcoholic who could get up, go to work, have a relationship, and train for races. “I went on like that for the next six years, until I got the ‘How good could I be at running?’ bug,” he says. That thought, coupled with getting as drunk as he’d ever been on his 37th birthday was a turning point. He quit shotgunning Budweisers and start piling on more miles. He’d already realized he had an aptitude for marathons, but now that drinking was no longer holding him back, he took a stab at ultramarathons (runs longer than 26.2 miles). He quickly discovered he excelled in them. In 1985, Dunn did his first multiday run, to benefit Habitat for Humanity. He ran 50 miles a day for three days straight across the state of South Dakota.

“Six years later, Habitat was turning 15, and I thought, ‘You’ve run across one state; why not run shore-to-shore in 104 days?’” he says. He did, running from San Francisco to Washington, DC. Technically he didn’t run all the way to Atlantic surf, but “the shores of the Potomac are [in DC] so, so what?” he says.

Afterward, he read that the most marathons anyone had completed in one year was 89. “So I said, ‘Let me do 93 in ’93.” Halfway into his quest, he received an email from a runner who’d done 101 marathons in a year. “I was already in the habit of running two marathons a weekend,” Dunn says. So, he simply added a few more to his lineup, and he broke the record.

In early 1995, at age 50, Dunn realized the 100th running of the Boston Marathon was that year, so—what else?—he ran the marathon course 25 times in the days leading up to it, culminating with a 26th running on race day (a total of 681.2 miles.) In 1998, he went to New York City, got a room at the Westside YMCA, and ran the original NYC Marathon course, through Central Park, 28 times in the 28 days before the city’s 29th marathon (and yes, he ran that one too). Then, in 2000, Dunn set off on his biggest, wildest challenge yet. On his way out of NYC two years prior, the ESPN2 host Keith Olbermann had asked him, “What next?”

“I’m not sure,” Dunn had said. “But the turn of the century is coming up. I’ll probably figure out something outrageous that’s never been done before.”
He launched that effort—running 200 marathons in one calendar year—in 2000. He missed the mark, only completing 186. For the next decade, he let people believe he’d done all 200—a lie of omission—but he finally set the record straight. “I’m an ethical person. I don’t deceive people,” he says. “To come clean was a refreshing feeling, and it got me back to being real and who I am.”

The Green Miles

Ever since Dunn put a cork in his drinking and all through the years of running—and, later, producing marathons and ultras—he’s tapped into the benefits of cannabis to enhance his body, brain, outlook, and spirit. “I’ve been using cannabis for 48 years, and I drank for 25 years. I’m throwing my history into the arena about the evils of alcohol compared to the not-so-evils of cannabis. When I was drinking, alcohol consumed me and ruined one of my marriages. With weed, my good vibe is just enhanced and I’m more creative. Plus, everything from Advil to narcotic pain killers are known to be bad for the body, but cannabis does what those do and more and it’s not addictive.”

As for the two most well-known compounds in weed—THC and CBD—Dunn says, “Back in the day, I smoked to get stoned. Now, a little THC puts me in a creative mood, and CBD basically gives a boost to [my runner’s high]. It’s a little supercharger of those effects, including the psychological and the physiological.”

Dunn is embarking on his next ultra-mileage adventure on 4-20-2020. He’ll road bike and run the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway Trail, from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida. His other motto is “Know Yourself,” and he’s adopting this challenge knowing that, at 74, his body might want to ride a bit more than run. His current plan is to ride 30 miles and run 10 per day.

If you want to join Dunn during his next big epic, you can follow him on americasmarathonman.com. Or just show up at one of the legs, toke (where it’s legal), and join in his runner’s high.

Seeing red, feeling blue, tickled pink. What you see is what you feel is what you are.

Humans have used color to express ideas and emotion for thousands of years, according to color specialist and trend forecaster Leatrice Eisman. As executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Eisman is the world’s leading authority on the topic of color, authoring many books on the subject. In The Complete Color Harmony, Eisman describes how even the most subtle nuances in color can result in shades that excite or calm, pacify or energize, and even suggest strength or vulnerability. “They can nurture you with their warmth, soothe you with their quiet coolness, and heighten your awareness of the world around you. Color enriches our universe and our perception of it,” she writes.

According to her research, we all respond to color at a very visceral level, associating specific hues with another time or place. “Color invariably conveys moods that attach themselves to human feelings or reactions,” she notes. “Part of our psychic development, color is tied to our emotions as well as our intellect. Every color has meaning that we either inherently sense or have learned by association and/or conditioning, which enables us to recognize the messages and meanings delivered.”

It’s with all this in mind that she and a team of experts choose the Pantone Color of the Year, which the institute has named annually for more than two decades, gaining more attention and having more impact with each passing declaration. So this year, expect to see a lot of blue. The 2020 Pantone Color of the Year is known as Classic Blue.

Describing the shade as “evocative of the nighttime sky,” Eisman explains the choice: “We are living in a time that requires trust and faith It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on.”

She contends that Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious, expand our thinking, open the flow of communication. Her comments are rooted in color theory, which says that a good part of the emotions that colors evoke is tied to natural phenomena. Classic Blue is the color of outer space (look beyond), of the celestial sky (look beyond), of the deep ocean (open the flow).

One of the earliest formal explorations of color theory came from German poet and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. His 1820 book Theory of Colours explored the psychological impact of colors on mood and emotion. Yellow, Goethe wrote, is the color nearest the light, yet when applied to dull, coarse surfaces, it is no longer filled with its signature energy. “By a slight and scarcely perceptible change, the beautiful impression of fire and gold is transformed into one not undeserving the epithet foul; and the colour of honour and joy reversed to that of ignominy and aversion.”

Of red: “All that we have said of yellow is applicable here, in a higher degree.” Goethe’s theories continue to intrigue, possibly because of the lyrical prose rather than its scientific facts.

Today, it’s generally accepted that shades of blue are associated with steady dependability, calm, and serenity. Yellow evokes the color of the sun, associated with warmth and joy. Green connects with nature, health, and revival. White stands for simplicity; black for sophistication.

A 1970s study on the body’s physiological responses to colors revealed that warm hues (red, orange, yellow—the colors of the sun) aroused people troubled with depression and increased muscle tone or blood pressure in hypertensive folks. Cool colors (green, blue, violet) elicited the reverse, but the important finding was that all colors produced clinically tangible results.

It’s not woo-woo science; humans have been using color as medicine, a practice known as chromotherapy, since ancient Egypt. In fact, chromotherapy is as tested a practice as any other alternative medicine—Ayurveda, acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology. While it is widely accepted that color affects one’s health—physically, mentally, emotionally—more studies are needed to determine the full scope of impact as well as its potential to help heal.

This isn’t a new theory, either. In the late 1800s, rays of color/light were shown to affect the blood stream. Later research found color to be “a complete therapeutic system for 123 major illnesses,” according to a critical analysis of chromotherapy published in 2005 by Oxford University Press.
Today, bright white, full-spectrum light is being used in the treatment of cancers, seasonal affective disorder, anorexia, bulimia, insomnia, jet lag, alcohol and drug addiction, and more. Blue light is used to help treat rheumatoid arthritis. Red light helps with cancer and constipation. And that’s just the beginning.

On the Bright Side

When your physical landscape is devoid of bright, vibrant hues, your emotional one is affected as well. That’s where color therapy comes in. It has a deep effect on physical, psychological, and emotional aspects of our lives, and it comes in many forms: light sessions that include color wheels. Colored crystal lights. Breathing in colors through meditation. Infrared saunas with chromotherapy add-ons.

There are actually many ways of adjusting the color in your life, and not all of them require a trip to see a specialist. Unlike trying to self-administer acupuncture (don’t do that), techniques can be as simple as putting on colorful attire or getting some bright throw pillows or plants. You can never have too many plants. And you should eat more plants, too, filling your plate with healthful fruits, vegetables, and spices from every part of the spectrum.

If a lack of sunlight has you feeling a lack of joy, paint your home or office—warm, vibrant yellows and oranges showcase excitement and warmth; browns and neutrals decidedly do not. Choose wisely. Painting not an option? Consider temporary wallpaper or hanging large artworks. On a budget? Head to the thrift shop and repurpose an old canvas by painting it white and then adding whatever hues you are vibing with this winter. If it doesn’t turn out well, cover it up with more white paint and start again.

Have fun with it, consider it art therapy.

There are also an array of therapeutic options popping up as add-ons, as wellness studios, spas, and alternative medicine practices incorporate chromotherapy treatments into their offerings. Many infrared saunas are starting to offer chromotherapy benefits, and the combination of the full-light spectrum and the heat effectively tricks the brain into thinking it spent a full day basking in the sun, causing it to release those sweet endorphins that flood your body when the warm rays of spring hit your face when you step outside. It feels good and really, that is everything. Color is everything.

A new book offers time-tested recipes and enduring tales from Tampa’s best restaurants.

You can tell a lot about a city from its dining scene. Around here, there’s an intricate mix of flavors and cultures coming together in iconic restaurants with deep-rooted history and modern hot spots where menus showcase inventive flair. Explore it all through Tampa’s Table: A Culinary Journey Through Tampa Bay ($23). Part history lesson, part how-to guide, this nontraditional cookbook is well written, beautifully photographed, and an outstanding celebration of the city’s gustatory heritage. Featuring 60 restaurants and 50 star chefs, the book is a must-have addition to your collection. Find out where to get your copy at tampastable.com.