Preserve your sanity; election year is here.

November 3, 2020, is still a long way away—as of the first of the year, it’s 307 days and counting. One day at a time. This year is gonna be a wild one, friends, guaranteed to be contentious as can be. It’s far too easy to get overwhelmed by all the noise and burn out before the primaries even begin. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, and the cacophony promises to grow louder and louder as the first Tuesday in November nears. Our nerves are frayed already, so if we’re not hypervigilant about protecting our mental health, they’ll be shredded long before November.

So, what do we do about it? Listen to Obama and chill. That’s the instructions the former president gave a room full of donors last November, urging everybody to “gin up about the prospect of rallying behind whoever emerges from [the primary] process and making sure we’re hitting the ground running.”

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s pace ourselves. We need to be in it till the end.

The 2020 trend reports predict the colors, styles, places, and products we’ll be seeing a lot more of this year.

In the Information Age we’re living in, it’s increasingly becoming a borderless world. The lines are blurring—gender, age, season, personal or professional, conscious consumption but still consumers. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been—to information, to one another, to the planet’s pulse. We emit data. To companies, we are data. And that data tells us that there may be a lot that divides us, but there’s more that unites us.

“Every industrial revolution was catalyzed by a major technological evolution,” according to Deloitt’s first “Global Marketing Trends” report. “Today is no different. With 90 percent of the world’s data having been produced in the last two years and more than 26 billion smart devices in circulation, we are living in an era of unprecedented technological innovation—one that has spurred the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

This is the time of year when the companies collecting and analyzing the data we put out there in hopes of capitalizing on our dollars either by influencing direct spending or capturing and monetizing our attention release their findings and predictions about what topics, colors, and styles are going to shape the year to come. The color and fashion predictions are more speculative than quantifiable, and they are coming out of disparate parts of the industry. Sure, it makes sense for a stock photography site like Shutterstock to say what colors are captivating users now; a brand of painter’s tape isn’t quite as qualified to announce 2020 home design trends. Not that it stopped FrogTape from recruiting a celebrity interior designer to do just that.

To create their forecasts, Pinterest, Etsy, and Facebook comb through years of data, crunch a lot of numbers, and release reports filled with delightful info and insight bloggers pour over and magazines report. (Guilty!)

Pinterest determines what ideas are trending by looking at what its 320 million users around the globe are searching for. If an idea keeps getting more and more searches each month and that trajectory holds steady for six months: it’s a trend. “In a time when so much seems to divide us, these ideas represent what we share in common—from every day inspiration to the epic dreams-for-someday stuff,” reads the Pinterest 100, is the company’s annual report, released each December, showing what’s next, with ideas across a bunch of categories, including food, home, style, beauty, health, travel, and family. This year, Pinterest organized the trends into 10 themes that show broader cultural shifts and changes in consumer behavior. It’s wildly interesting, made especially so by telling us just how many more searches for a particular topic trended up in global search volumes from August 2017 to July 2018 and August 2018 to July 2019.

The topics are broken into 10 defined categories. There’s “Beyond binary,” because more products and services are moving beyond gendered labels and structured options. Searches for “gender neutral names list” were up 301 percent, “gender neutral haircut” by 625 percent. “Conscious consumption” finds that a push for more eco-friendly habits is changing how we live—from everyday choices to life’s biggest milestones. “Low-waste lifestyle” is up 446 percent. “Solar light crafts,” up 427 percent. “Thrift store crafts,” up 2,276 damn percent.

But that’s not even half of the biggest spike. That comes from the “90s rerun” category, where ’90s cartoons, grunge fashion, and music all captured attention. But the largest and truthfully most shocking item on the entire list is “hair scrunchie,” up 6,309 percent.

Other topics: space everything, responsible travel, re-wilding, internationally inspired, finding balance, home hub, and pampered pets. In the coming months, don’t be surprised if you see pieces on the benefits of sea moss, ylang ylang essential oil, art therapy, and cucumber juice in your media feeds. If you find out what bushcraft camping is, let me know.

Queries for the topic were up 1,069 percent. Etsy takes a similar approach to Pinterest to put together its beloved trend report, looking for searches and purchases of items in categories on the rise. It declared 2020 the “year of purpose,” predicting shoppers will be focusing on what’s important to them and what’s important to the world, making meaningful change and carefully considering their purchases.

Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson says color-blocking is hot in home decor, ’80s ensembles are the hit style, couples coordinating coats is a rising wedding trend, pampered pets is here to stay, and bespoke beauty is the result of buyers’ attentiveness to what they’re putting on their faces and bodies. Etsy offers them bespoke options that are one of a kind.

Chartreuse is Etsy’s pick for the color of the year—a bold choice. The shade falls right in the middle of yellow and green, known for increasing energy, encouraging unconventional thinking, and evoking feelings of growth and harmony. And, Johnson tells us, a nod to all of the ’80s neons making a comeback right now.

“It’s daring, statement-making, and unexpected—exactly what we’re all trying to embrace in the new year,” Johnson says. “I predict we’ll see this tone showing up everywhere from home goods to wardrobes. We’re already seeing shoppers jumping on the trend with searches increasing for various green tones.”

It’s starkly different than the shade the color experts at the Pantone Color Institute announced as the color of the year. Each December for the past 20 years, Pantone has released its selection of trending colors, chosen not by number but by instincts and the trained eyes of the world’s leading color authorities, who try to capture the mood of the moment with the selection, described by Pantone as “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”

For 2020, Pantone’s pick is Classic Blue, a timeless and enduring hue that the company asserts is elegant in its simplicity, suggestive of the sky at dusk, and its reassuring qualities “highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

Leatrice Esieman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, elaborated on the selection in a press statement. “We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.” 

The shade isn’t too different than Phantom Blue, a rich navy with significant depth that Shutterstock predicts to be a color on the rise in its “2020 Color Trends Report.” The company expects bold, saturated hues to dominate creative campaigns this upcoming year. By analyzing billions of pixel data from images downloaded, the report reveals which colors had the greatest growth between 2018 and 2019. Along with the dramatic blue, two other colors made the list: lush lava, a noticeably warm, fiery orange-red color that draws attention, and Aqua Menthe, a vivid cyan-tinged mint shade that conveys a playful, modern, and outgoing brand personality.

All of these hues and trends were seen on the runways for SS20, meaning top fashion designers don’t follow trends, they set them. The collections showed in the fall undoubtedly directed some of the “color of the year” declarations made by companies leading up to the start of this year—many of which came with a “back to nature” message.

The takeaway: Every shade of green inspired by nature and blues, both bold and subdued, look as great when paired with brilliant accents as they do when met with neutral hues.

Your parents’ bad diets weigh heavily on how you nibble today.

Someone in my house was always on a diet when I was growing up. Sometimes it was my older and younger sisters who followed various diets, and sometimes it was my older and younger brothers. My dad—an anesthesiologist who struggled with his weight—believed in burning more calories than you eat.

My mom, the former nurse, was a chronic dieter throughout her life, from the Scarsdale, South Beach, and Atkins diets to the Cabbage Soup and Grapefruit ones. She was one of the very early adopters of the original Weight Watchers. More often than not, she was on the Pall-Mall-cigarette-and-black-coffee diet.

“I didn’t want to be like my mother, Nanna, with her hanging stomach,” my mom would later say. She started smoking as a teenager to control her weight and inhaled for more than 70 years. We all got the not especially subtle message.

I was the middle child and on a diet for half of my youth. I know all the euphemisms. Chubby. Heavy boned. Overweight (or is it under-height?). The most feared was the dreaded obese, uttered by our terrifying family pediatrician who expressed apocalyptic opinions about my weight.
Fueled by shame, Catholic guilt over failed willpower, and sublimated anger, I was well on my way to the vibrant dysfunctional relationship with food that has inspired my best writing over the years.

I was a great student, but I got a lot more positive feedback when I lost 10 pounds than when I got straight As—even if it was the same 10 pounds I’d lost (and gained) repeatedly.

They called me “Fatso.” Under the moniker “Fitchburg Fats,” I penned a high school editorial against overweight prejudice. In college, I became “Big John.” Eventually that became simply “Big.” I learned to wear all black clothes because, as Mom said, “It’s slenderizing.”

One summer, I lived on tomatoes, cottage cheese, grapefruit, hardboiled eggs, and burger patties. I tried low calorie, high protein, heavy on the broth, apple cider vinegar, and artificial sweeteners from saccharin to stevia. I wanted to be a loser.

My fatness was blamed on my Sicilian heritage or my Austrian parentage. Now, with genetic testing, I blame it on my Jewish heritage too. Mostly, I blame it on bad messaging.

When my mother moved out of our family home, I grabbed a stack of diet-related pamphlets and cookbooks, some now dating back 70 years. I started flipping through them recently and was stunned by the absolutely idiotic—if not dangerous advice and language that now would be labeled offensive, patronizing, and misogynistic.

Simply Because They Eat Too Much

The oldest of the pamphlets includes some of the most truthful tips. “Overweight and Underweight” (1950) by MetLife takes a matter-of-fact approach: “Overweight people are apt to develop diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure … die younger …are poor surgical risks, and have less resistance to infection.”

The volume offered some decent advice including: “Never eat when emotionally upset or overtired. Relax or rest first.”

Reducing Without Tears

The pamphlet promises we can learn “how to eat as much as you want and lose weight” without falling into the usual diet despair: “If you follow the rules, you will not be hungry, or depressed, or irritable, or weak for one minute during your reducing program.”

“The rules” largely center around the word no. One page is a laundry list of excluded foods including no jam, raisins, soft drinks, candy, macaroni, cakes, pies, white bread, grits, corn, potatoes, drippings, lard, bacon, cheese, chocolate, fatty ham, ice cream, beer, wine, or whiskey.

According to the pamphlet, you must confess your sins. “Keep a record of the times you forgot and took sugar in coffee, just one bite of French pastry, just one cocktail.… Write all the forbidden foods you take in the Out of Bounds column.”

Allowed snacks ranged from bouillon, carrot sticks, and lemonade sweetened with saccharin to tomato juice, cantaloupe, and black coffee. Two appetite-supressing recipes are boiled beef heart and broiled smoked tongue.

The Reducing Cook Book and Diet Guide, published in 1951, offers some good news: “No longer is overweight just a subject for condescending humor. Today, practically everybody knows that [being] overweight threatens health and longevity.”

Three-Day Slimming with Pleasure Plan

“If you’ve been hitting the calories a little too hard, you’ll be surprised how peppy and energetic a three-day rest from heavy meals will make you,” offers 1952’s “Best Diets from Good Housekeeping.”

The paperback book warns that exercise is not the answer to being overweight: “There is only one way to proper poundage: The quick way, the simple way, in fact, the only practical way to attain a pretty weight, and stay there, is to control your diet. So, don’t think you can play a few more sets of tennis, or do 50 bends a day, and take off fat…. To take off just one pound, you must walk about 36 miles or wash clothes on a washboard for 28 hours.”

If You Can Cut Out Just 50 Calories

“Tempting Low-Calorie Recipes” (1956) turns to “science” to provide answers. The Cream of Celery Soup recipe includes “½ teaspoon monosodium glutamate.” In fact, flavor-enhancing MSG appears in multiple recipes, including a lamb kabob and the always-popular jellied veal loaf. Many recipes such as Harvard beets call for saccharin, a substance that would be declared carcinogenic a decade later.

Why Be Fat When It’s So Easy to Slenderize?

“The Slenderizer Unit System Calorie Counter” (1958) proudly proclaims that it “recommends no starvation diets, no steam baths, or tiresome exercises—nor any other unpleasant experiences.”
However, it does recognize one reality: “Realize that it’s impossible to reduce your weight and at the same time freely indulge in alcoholic beverages.”

The Slenderizer includes calorie counts for a lot of foods most folks no longer consume such as Liederkranz cheese (100), gum drops (25), creamed chicken (150), chopped chipped beef (300), ladyfingers (25), fried ham (250), and banana custard (100).

Men Never Get Chatty with Gals who Are Fatty

The dieting artifact that made me cringe the most was “The Fat Boy’s Calorie Guide,” published in 1958. It is a treasure trove of antique insults. It offers wisdom like “Men never get chatty with gals who are fatty” and bad advice, as in: “To lose one pound, you have to take 370 steam baths.”
Under the heading “The Fat Boy’s Bartender,” the pamphlet reminds readers that “one jigger of Scotch has less calories than a glass of prune juice.”

Look at a Pound of Lard

“For many and many a year, people have been inventing doodads to shake the fat off us, or to roll it off, or knead it away, or cook it out of our systems, or sweat it away,” notes the 1962 Edition Diet Handbook.
The book discourages excess eating by contemplating pig fat: “In a pound of excess human weight, there are about 3,500 calories. Look at a pound of lard. It contains about 4,100 calories.”
One of the book’s 320-calorie lunches gives you 3 ounces liverwurst, 6 leaves lettuce, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 cup skim milk. However, it includes a warning: “Notice whether a too-light lunch leaves you faint in mid-afternoon.”

You Can’t Eat Cigarettes

Under the heading of “Cigarettes and Your Appetite,” the Weight Losers Cookbook & Diet Guide (1967) offers dieters a low-cal option: “You can’t eat cigarettes, but in a pinch, they can serve as food until something better comes along. By smoking you can dull the pangs of hunger until you hardly knew you had an appetite … If you hold a cigarette in your fingers you can’t hold a chocolate.”

To be fair, the pamphlet notes that there is no evidence that smoking is a desirable health habit, and considerable evidence that it isn’t.
The paperback’s attitude toward women—the main target of all these volumes—is typical of the times. It recommends exercise but warns ladies to avoid certain suggestive motions: “[Avoid] the hip-rolling act.…This posture is vulgar as the lady throws herself about like a Grade-B-Movie-Trollop-on-the-Prowl, until people fear she will become disjointed.”

Avoiding the Sleeping Beauty Diet

However, despite how little they knew about nutrition and metabolism at the time, much of the advice remains true today. Seeing these diet pamphlets and books after all these years was like getting my 23&Me report and finding out my family is screwier than I ever imagined. Frankly, I’m amazed my relationship with food is not even more messed up than it is.
I live near Boulder, an area swarming with profoundly trim and fit adults (from age 20 to 90) who fast-walk past me on the trails and outswim me at the rec center. I think I thought living here—instead of say, Green Bay, would inspire me, and maybe it has.

At least I’ve avoided the worst diet idea I’ve ever heard. The “Sleeping Beauty Diet,” an approach reportedly favored by Elvis Presley, pairs sedation with starvation. Dieters knock themselves out with sleeping pills and, since they’re asleep, they can’t eat.

I still need to lose 25 (or 50 or 75) pounds, and I may well let them go for all the best reasons. I looked into the keto, Paleo, and Whole30 diets, and decided that a modified Mediterranean diet works best. I make small incremental changes I can maintain while supplanting Camembert, pie, and French fries with nonedible forms of joy. I’m a work in progress.

This healthy blended concoction will get your inner strength pulsing.

When the consuming hubbub of the holidays finally tapers, it’s back to the grindstone of life. After a season of too many libations, Christmas cookies, and family drama, it’s easy to start the new year feeling drained. For a fast fix for mind and body, integrate this supergreen smoothie into your weekly routine.

Packed with fiber, immune-boosting vitamins, essential proteins, and medicinal CBD (optional), this smoothie is my go-to morning Rx to stay grounded throughout the workday. The CBD tincture we recommend is made with lemon balm, passionflower, and skullcap to soothe anxiety.


New You Green Smoothie

Serves 1 / Contains 6.3 mg CBD and 2.1 mg THC
Ingredients

2 cups fresh spinach
1 banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
½ cup almond, hemp, or oat milk
½ cup water
1 mL Calm CBD (from Humboldt Apothecary)
2-3 ice cubes (optional)

Directions
  • Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or high-capacity blender. Blend until smooth and drink. Kick ass and take names.

High Society: Sensi Connect Denver

Where: Baldoria On The Water, Lakewood
When: Dec. 3, 2019

An event series born to help build relationships and foster new connections within the community, Sensi Connect brings industry partners and invited guests together for exclusive gatherings. Area leaders and executives mingled in an elegant consumption-friendly environment where delicious libations and lively conversations flowed.

High Society: Meow Wolf Dark Palace

Where: National Western Complex
When: Nov. 22–24, 2019
Photos: Jess Bernstein

Santa Fe–based art and entertainment collective Meow Wolf took over the National Western Complex for three consecutive nights in late November, transforming the home of the Denver Stock Show into Dark Palace, a Dance Obscura. A variety of mind-bending installations from local artists, such as Audiopixel, Jon Medina, and Secret Love Collective provided the setting for the festival, which featured music from DJs such as Claude VonStroke, MK, Guy Gerber, and more. From the local Denver scene, Late Night Radio, Mass Relay, Mikey Thunder, LYFTD, NadaSound, Option4 also performed.

Beat back the winter blues with bacon, bourbon, and brews; honor Martin Luther King Jr. at the nation’s largest march and rally; and get a pic with a bald eagle.

Beat back the winter blues with bacon, bourbon, and brews; honor Martin Luther King Jr. at the nation’s largest march and rally; and get a pic with a bald eagle.

No doubt, we’re in the thick of it—in every way. Don’t even think about hibernating. Winter on the Front Range offers the best of all worlds—there are opportunities to play, learn, and create that could keep you busy morning through midnight. Here are a few of our favorites.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Concert

Jan. 3–5
Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver

coloradosymphony.org
The film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will be projected in HD on the big screen while the Colorado Symphony performs the full film score.


National Western Stock Show

Jan. 7–26
National Western Complex, Denver

nationalwestern.com


T2 Dance Project: Versatility Dance Festival

Jan. 10–11
Dairy Arts Center, Boulder

thedairy.org
REVolutions Dance and 3rd Law Dance/Theater will perform during two nights of the best in dance film and performance from Colorado and beyond. The companies will also offer workshops that are open to the public.


Lafayette Oatmeal Festival and 5K Walk/Run

Jan. 11
Pioneer Elementary School, Lafayette

lafayettecolorado.com
The 24th annual oatmeal breakfast, which began as a heart-health study for Quaker Oats, is followed by a 5K walk/run. This year, there will be two ninja courses, and six-time American Ninja Warrior national finalist Brian Arnold will be on hand to offer tips.


Colorado Indian Market & Southwest Art Fest

Jan. 17–19
The Denver Mart, Denver
dashevents.com
The 39th annual celebration of Native American, Southwestern, and Western arts features more than 200 juried artists, tribal dancers in historic regalia, storytellers, and food. Capture Insta moments with a live hawk or bald eagle.


Estes Park Winter Festival

Jan. 18–19
Estes Park Events Complex, Estes Park

estesparkeventscomplex.com
Free food and beer from local breweries, a chili cook-off, silent disco, and live music from the Who Do’s, Dixie Leadfoot, and the Blues Dogs. Wait, did you say free beer?


Martin Luther King Marade (March and Parade)

Jan. 20
City Park, Denver

drmartinlkingjrchc.org
The largest MLK march and rally in the US starts at the I Have a Dream memorial in City Park and makes its way to Civic Center Park. A program about MLK in Civic Center Park’s Greek Theater will immediately follow the Marade.


Taste of Greece Cooking Class—Winter Warmth Featuring Pastitsio

Jan. 22
Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral Community Center, Denver

Tickets on Eventbrite
Working in small groups with lots of hands-on instruction, learn how to prepare traditional Greek comfort foods like Pastitsio—baked pasta with ground meat and béchamel sauce—and then enjoy the meal you created.


UllrGrass Music & Beer Festival

Jan. 24–26
Parfet Park and various venues, Golden

ullrgrass.com/beer-festival
Revelers dress in Viking regalia for this festival named after the Norse winter god. It features beer and cider from Colorado breweries and music from Coral Creek with Drew Emmitt and Allie Kral, FY5, Julian Davis and the Situation, and The High Road Home.


Bourbon & Bacon Fest

Jan. 25
McNichols Civic Center, Denver

bourbonandbaconfest.com


Winter Brew Fest

Jan. 25
Mile High Stadium, Denver

brewfestevents.com
This annual event featuring more than 100 beers and ciders from 40 breweries takes over Mile High Stadium and spills out into the parking lot, where there will be a heated tent, live music, and food trucks. Attendance is limited so tasting lines won’t be ridiculous.


27 Club—A Tragic DJ Tribute to Jimi, Janis, Jim, Kurt & Amy

Jan. 25
The Monkey Barrel, Denver

monkeybarrelbar.com/events


Onesie Pub Crawl

Jan. 25
Denver

Tickets on Eventbrite


Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks

Jan. 31
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Morrison

icelanticskis.com
Held in conjunction with the Outdoor + Snow Show, the ninth annual EDM show is a convergence of music, art, and community headlined by Zhu with support from They., Snbrn, Channel Tres, and DJ Cassidy.

It’s a new year, but there’s no need for a whole new you.

When winter rolls around and the temperature drops, everyone winterizes their wardrobes, homes, and even their makeup. But people often neglect their most important shield from the icy months of winter: their skin.

Skin is the body’s natural barrier from harmful agents in the air, and it should be treated with the care it deserves. The combination of exposure to cold, windy air outdoors and the dry heat indoors can leave skin looking
scaly and blotchy. Flaky, dry, irritated skin doesn’t have to be the norm every winter.

We enlisted the expertise of Dr. Manish H. Shah, a board-certified plastic surgeon with a private practice near Cherry Creek. Follow the doc-approved SOS game plan and bypass the chapped, scaly misery of the season with these smart, easy skin-care switch ups. Small tweaks to your daily skin-care routine will work wonders to repair any damage winter has already ravaged and get you prepped to, ahem, face the rest of the harshest season.

Prep Your Home:

The drier the air, the drier the skin. To maximize the amount of water in the air, Shah recommends placing a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time, which, in many cases, is the bedroom. “A cool air humidifier increases the moisture level in the air,” Shah says, helping the skin’s barrier stay hydrated. In addition, be sure the heat is kept on low or at a moderate temperature to avoid extra dryness.

Wash Your Face with Lukewarm

Water: Cold winter nights can make a hot bubble bath sound appealing, but you should avoid soaking very long in water that’s toasty and steaming. Water can strip the skin of its natural oils. The hotter the bath, the more the skin loses moisture, leaving it flaky and easily cracked. “Use lukewarm or cool water when washing your face and showering, and avoid extreme hot or cold,” Shah suggests. “Also, keep showers at a maximum of 10 minutes, and then pat yourself dry with a towel rather than rubbing, as it will leave some water on your skin for added hydration.”

Switch Your Moisturizer:

One of the most important and commonly overlooked steps is changing to a seriously hydrating moisturizer. “Look for creams, rather than lotions, that are made with ceramides and hyaluronic acid,” Shah says. Ceramides aid in the prevention of the skin’s barrier, which is “easily broken down during the winter.” For patients with severely chapped faces, slather on a generous amount of product, morning and night.

Exfoliate Once a Week:

It’s nearly impossible to look flawless in the winter without exfoliating. Slathering on extra moisturizer will work effectively only if you get rid of the dead cells on the dermis, or top layer of your skin. Otherwise the cream will not penetrate the skin for maximum hydration. “Because the winter cold leaves skin dryer than usual, the flaky build-up on the surface of the skin causes skin to appear dull,” Shah says. Exfoliating with a nonabrasive product once or twice a week will allow moisture to penetrate the skin more easily, yielding more supple and radiant skin.

Change Your Face Wash:

The change to drier, colder air calls for milder skin products. In the winter, your skin craves more nourishment when it’s cold out, so skip products with alcohol or antibacterial soaps, as they tend to strip moisture from the skin. Instead, opt for milder, soap-free products. Shah recommends changing from gel and foam cleansers to a richer milk cleanser and from a light summery moisturizer to a thicker nourishing cream.

Sleep Easy:

If you’ve been losing sleep lately, your skin will surely show it. Getting plenty of restful sleep can benefit your skin far more than a slew of expensive products. Skimping on sleep can leave your usually rosy skin looking dull and sallow, not to mention the dark circles that will develop under your eyes. To keep your skin looking radiant, Shah recommends getting at least eight hours of sleep a night.

Keep Using Sunscreen:

One of the greatest misconceptions about winter is that the sun isn’t as strong in winter, and thus it won’t damage your skin. “The sun may not feel as strong in the winter because the air is cold, but the harmful UVA rays are still in full effect,” Shah says. UVA light is the main culprit responsible for long-term skin damage and premature aging of the skin. Make sure the sunscreen you’re using protects against UVA rays, especially if you ski, snowboard, or engage in other outdoor activities for extended periods of time.

This Spring, United Airlines will unite Denver with Nassau

Good news, jet-setters: Starting this spring, you can go lie on the white powdery beaches of the Bahamas without enduring a layover. United Airlines begins nonstop service between Denver International Airport and Nassau in the Bahamas beginning March 7. You know what’s a hop, skip, and a short footbridge from Nassau, right? Paradise Island. In the spirit of full disclosure, I audibly sighed while typing that because it just sounds so very nice.

Even if you weren’t aware that Paradise Island even existed, you know what it looks like almost instinctively. No, not because the visuals on this page give it away, although it is a bit of a #spoileralert. Stay with me anyway. Pull out your phone or fire up your laptop, and do a quick Google Images search for “paradise.”

Powdery sand beaches dotted with palm trees and lapped by shimmering turquoise waters kissed by a golden sun. The concept of paradise conjures up a universal image of tropical escapes around the world, places where the water is so blue it seems to be illuminated from beneath the surface. Waters so turquoise that they make the word turquoise pale in comparison. That’s what paradise looks like.

And that’s what Paradise Island looks like. It’s part of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, a string of 700 islands and 2,400 cays stretching over 100,000 square miles. The brilliant aquamarine waters surrounding the archipelago are so vibrant, they are one of only two natural landmarks clearly visible from space. During astronaut Scott Kelly’s year aboard the International Space Station, he was captivated by the Bahamas, calling it “the most beautiful place from space.”

If you’ve still got your phone out, google “Bahamas seen from space,” and you’ll see what he means. Go ahead, we’ll wait…
Stunning, right? You want to be there right now. I know. United can’t get you there until March, but you can book your flight right now. If the thought of floating in that gemstone-hued salt-water bath isn’t reason enough to get you on the plane, we are motivated by very different things. That’s ok; there’s more to the Caribbean-adjacent destination than can be seen from above.

Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is located on New Providence Island at the heart of the archipelago. It’s the 11th largest island in the Commonwealth. The aptly named Paradise Island is less than a half mile away. International travelers and locals alike are lured to Nassau by its charm, rhythms, flavors, beaches, and—worth mentioning again—some of the clearest waters in the world.

And they are never far from view in Nassau. A combination of low tidal range and shallow depths result in the stunning hues. Visibility often tops 250 feet, making this a prime spot for snorkeling with stingrays, diving with dolphins, seeking out shipwrecks, and checking out coral reefs.
Back on land, part of Nassau’s allure is its harmonious blend of old and new. The streets are lined with a wall of pastel-hued boutiques, restaurants, and bars, offset by the Parliament, the Supreme Court, and other government offices. The result: Nassau’s distinctive colonial-meets-
modern flair.

The island’s history is as colorful as its architecture. The Bahamas became an independent nation within the British Commonwealth in 1973, but 200-plus years of British rule left a lasting mark on the culture. In Parliament Square, Nassau’s lawmakers still wear white wigs inside the candy-pink Georgian-style government buildings, which date from the late 1700s. The Queen’s Staircase—65 steps carved out of the side of a limestone cliff—lead to Fort Fincastle and its 126-foot Water Tower. That’s the highest point on the island. Just imagine how much oxygen is in the air there.
While the local attractions are plentiful, perhaps the most notable is the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo—the only place in the world to see the marching flamingos, which literally march on command.

You can find places to stay on Nassau, but you’ll want to consider instead the main attraction just across the way: Atlantis, Paradise Island, the lost city brought to life. Featuring five distinct properties, the most recognizable of which are the Royal Towers, Atlantis is also home to the largest open-air marine habitat in the world. It’s also got Aquaventure, a 141-acre waterscape that includes a glass-tube slide through a shark tank, a 14-acre marine mammal habitat, an incredible spa, a Tom Weiskopf–designed golf course, a huge casino, duty-free shopping, and more than 40 restaurants, Fish by José Andres, Nobu by Nobu Matsuhisa, and Olives by Todd English among them.

It’s pretty swanky. To balance it out, make sure you take a day trip to the nearby island to swim with the wild pigs. Trust us: the photos alone make it worth the time and cost.

United’s new service operates once a week year-round on Saturdays, except during the height of hurricane season from mid-August through late October. It’s about a five-hour flight on a Boeing 737.
It’s the first nonstop flight between Nassau and Denver, and it makes Denver the western-most stop for direct flights from the Caribbean. Until the flight debuts, Denver is the third largest US market without nonstop service to the Bahamian capital. As of press time, a Basic Economy roundtrip ticket was going for $457 for the inaugural flight

Setting focused goals can be exactly what you need to reset.

New Year’s resolutions are the thing everyone either anticipates or dreads. The promise of resetting after a month (or three) of overeating, letting the gym membership collect ample cobwebs due to its neglect, and indulging in sweets, cannabis, alcohol, or whatever else you’re into can be what leads to the urgency of a total body, mind, soul reset.

So, does fasting for a week or promising to hit that boot camp you’ve been eyeing really translate into life-changing results? Not so much, but creating a goal and taking all the necessary steps to get there absolutely can be the difference between proclamation and action.

According to motivational speaker Brian Tracy, setting goals is mandatory if you want to see results in your life. Author of more than 70 books on subjects ranging from productivity to public speaking, Tracy has become the resource for getting things in order—mentally, personally, and professionally. On his website (briantracy.com), Tracy lays out six steps of why setting goals is paramount to your life’s journey. “Goals help you measure success, stay motivated, keep you focused, help you beat procrastination, achieve more, and determine what you want in life. It is, therefore, the act of setting, achieving, and surpassing goals that makes living your best life possible.”

During the days when her show ruled the airwaves, Oprah introduced a concept of vision boards and manifesting the life you want. Her advice was to create a vision board with specific goals, wants, and successes. The thought process behind making a vision board is steeped in the law of attraction; that if you manifest it, you can attract it. While this is definitely not a practice that science will confirm as reliable and true, it caused a wave of people around the world setting specific goals and putting photos of things they wanted to attain on a board hoping to make those ideas a reality. Photos of supermodel bodies, a winning lotto ticket, your dream house, a new car, a happy family, whatever the ultimate “thing” you wanted to obtain in life, it was on that board. To this day people are firm believers in the power of vision boards.

According to an article written by psychotherapist Amy Morin in Inc. magazine, vision boards hinder more than help. “While my anecdotal evidence shows that vision boards backfire, research also shows that focusing on attaining your goal—as opposed to the effort it will take to succeed—will increase your chances of failure. There are a multitude of studies that show athletes, students, and musicians perform worse when they visualize themselves succeeding, as opposed to visualizing themselves going through the steps it takes to succeed.”

Morin cites a 2011 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that found fantasizing about an idealized future decreases the likelihood that someone will expend energy trying to turn their fantasy into a reality. “Positive thinking only works when it’s combined with positive action,” Morin writes in Inc.

So why set goals versus making New Year’s resolutions? Let’s start with the reason we all make resolutions in the first place. Most of the time we make resolutions because we’re tired of a certain part of our lives. We’ve made promises to ourselves to diet consistently, work out five days a week (to look like we did when we were 18 and had no stress), eat more healthily (avoiding that trough of nachos), practice meditation (we swear we’ll do 10 to 20 minutes a day), stop falling in love with every person we meet (because, you know, Tinder), and not drink as much (because the year of drinking benders caught up to us), etcetera, etcetera. We make grand declarations, and we’re convinced this is the year we’ll stick with it and not quit—but sadly, studies show quitting usually happens before January ends. Yah, we’re not so great at resolutions.

In an article written in Lifehack.org by Daniel Wallen, he informs readers that 12 percent of people making resolutions will actually see them through. In doing the math, by his estimation, roughly 156 million people will give up their resolutions long before January sees its midpoint. Wallen’s piece makes some valid points.

“You’re treating a marathon like a sprint,” Wallen warns. “Start with something easy like committing to drinking more water that first week of the new year, and build from there.” In that same article he also reminds readers that the only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. In other words, take your time, have realistic expectations and don’t assume you can change every bad eating or workout habit instantaneously. Instead, try applying a Mister Miyagi–like mindset. Remember, the karate kid—Daniel-san—had to wax on and wax off a whole lot before he could successfully kick the Cobra Kai’s ass. Well, until the reboot anyway.

“Habits seem to be more than behaviors—they seem to be part of who we are,” writes Julie Layton on science.howstuffworks.com. “Changing a habit is never that simple. If it were, overeaters would all be thin, alcoholics would never relapse, and everyone would be up early enough to eat a healthy breakfast before work.”

So, this month while you faithfully commit to making changes, try setting goals instead. Once you know what you want, write down all the steps it’s going to take to make those goals a reality and start there. Lastly, don’t be in a hurry. The mindset of self-improvement is a day-by-day process and respecting that while making daily strides will lead you to being the best possible you imaginable.

Now go. Set the hell out of those goals.

A loophole in Colorado law still allows school districts to deny cannabis medicine on their campuses.

It’s one of those things that seems so easy but proves to be oh so difficult.

Benjamin Wann, 18, is a senior at Mountain Vista High School in Douglas County. Diagnosed with epilepsy, he is a registered medical-marijuana patient who uses a product made from hemp oil, morning and night, to help keep seizures at bay. He also likes to keep a nasal spray (CannatolRx Rescue) handy, to stop unexpected seizures. Call it insurance.

It’s that nasal spray that has made things difficult. CannatolRx Rescue contains a miniscule amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical associated with cannabis “elevation”), and it is the policy of the Douglas County School Board not to allow anything containing THC on school campuses.

It’s not that it’s illegal in the state. Colorado passed House Bill 1373 in early 2016, which allows a parent or designated caregiver to administer cannabis products to authorized patients on school premises. The bill was passed after a student named Jack Splitt, who used medical cannabis to curb his dystonia, and his mother, Stacey Linn, lobbied for the chance to allow Splitt, who died on Aug. 24, 2016, and other students like him to have access to their medicine at school. Splitt’s honesty and buoyant personality won the attention of lawmakers and everyone else at the Capitol, and the bill is commonly known as “Jack’s Law.”

“We got some attention from folks in the cannabis industry and also (then) Rep. Jonathan Singer,” Linn says. “We were able to get an amendment to the caregivers act, which was being introduced at the time, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to kids at schools. That was the first time in the country that happened.”

In June of 2018, legislators added an amendment, House Bill 1286, that allows school personnel and nurses to administer medical marijuana. But, like much state cannabis legislation, the bill allowed schools and districts to opt in or out. So far, only one of the 179 districts has incorporated the new law.

For its part, the Douglas County School District uses the federal definition of cannabis to disallow the THC nasal spray to be placed on its shelves—even for a just-in-case situation. And since the parents are the designated caregivers, and neither could get to the school to administer the drug in time to do any good should he have a sudden seizure, it leaves Benjamin and others like him without alternatives.

In October, school board president David Ray commended Benjamin and the family for their persistence on the issue—they have been attending meetings for more than a year—and said that the board would review the policy and put it on the November agenda. Before that meeting, the item was pulled at the behest of city attorneys, the board said, because it is dealing with another complaint filed against it concerning its cannabis policy. No date has been set for its return to the board’s agenda.
Benjamin will graduate in 2020, but the Wanns, along with the family of Marley Porter, a 14-year-old at Castle Rock Middle School who uses homemade cannabis capsules to help control her Crohn’s Disease, are not going to stop advocating for these rights in Douglas County.

The Wanns started the Green Crayon Campaign to bring awareness to the cause and pressure lawmakers to force districts to allow THC medicines to be on shelves and administered by school personnel and nurses.

They are also working with legislators to amend “Jack’s Law” during the 2020 session to force districts to obey state law as well as asking Governor Polis to sign an emergency executive order to allow medicine to be kept overnight and administered by school personnel. “The Green Crayon campaign stemmed out of needing a visual to catch the attention of our leaders and whoever we’re sending this campaign to,” says Benjamin’s mother, Amber Wann. “It started with sending notes and crayons to the superintendent of the school.”

It appears the issue will be decided by the legislature. “The governor understands the importance of access to medical cannabis for Coloradans who use these products to alleviate the symptoms of their health challenges,” a spokesperson from Polis emailed. “However, he cannot legislate or reverse legislation contemplated by the general assembly and will not act to overturn legislation through executive order. It is up to the legislature to take another look at Jack’s Law to determine how to encourage access for student patients who use medical cannabis.”

All this over keeping a state-legal bottle of medicine in a locked cabinet at a school with other medicines. School districts have too much power, Amber says. “We want to keep reminding people nationwide that we have to go to legislators and boldly demand mandatory laws.”

The number 2020 vibes to the number four. How will that affect the coming year?

The sum of the numbers of the last year of the decade is four. Four is the number of foundation and structure.

This is the year of establishing your legacy. Wills, trusts, inheritances, and the settling of old affairs will be a priority. The faster any pending legal issues are concluded, the better it will be for you moving forward. This is where you leave your home each day with the vibration that things are squared away.

Do not worry about those people who haven’t taken care of their issues; just gently remind them that you are taking care of yours.

This is not a time of preaching what you know to be right for you. Wait until you are asked for your advice. Each of us knows what’s right for us (if we are still enough to relax into our spirit). Think of the things and people around you as treasures. They are your foundation for the upcoming years.

This decade is ending on the vibration of setting things in order, so that means that you are establishing the energy for the next decade (beginning in 2021) with the structure of what you set in place in 2020.

Also, 2020 can be considered a “Master Year,” because of the number 22. It resonates with the master builder, so think of large projects where the attention to detail is respected, honored, and celebrated. The number 22 is also the only master number where its digits can be multiplied or added together to reach the sum of four. Because the energy revolves around setting things in order, you will find that your awareness of what’s most important will be what attracts your attention.

Some cultures resist the number four in the same way we avoid the number 13. In languages such as Mandarin and Japanese, the word “four” sounds identical to the word for “death.” In this case, however, that death is not an actual ending of life; it is the end of irresponsibility. It is the freedom that comes from being disciplined enough to plan, from here, your future. The year 2020 will be one for checking the details of everything before making any decision and not a year of shortcutting anything.

Purge away any old, unused items and sage your home on New Year’s Day (or as close to the beginning of the month as possible). It’s a lovely ritual to cleanse away any negativity from the previous year.
Have flat surfaces in your home become a cluttered menagerie where dust bunnies lurk? Then it’s time to get rid of that clutter. Even those clothes that still have the tags on them could be returned or donated to an organization that helps people restart their lives.

The Race for POTUS: It’s Going To Be A Strange And Curious Ride

If you have a pulse, you know we’re in the throes of a rather colorful—and heated—presidential race for 2020. It’s hard to ignore the many things happening in our nation’s political arena, so rather than focus on the chaos, let’s take a look at some of the Democratic candidates and how they stand on one particular issue: marijuana and cannabis legalization.

With 11 states that have fully legal markets and Illinois just joining the ranks, the topic of legalization is one of great debate. Looking at a breakdown done by politico.com, six Democratic candidates have a spectrum of thought on the topic. Despite believing that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” former Vice President Joe Biden supports it being downgraded to a Schedule II of the Substance Abuse Act and decriminalizing it at the federal level, though states could still prosecute its use as a punishable offense. Indiana’s mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, is a strong supporter of legalizing, as are Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, New Jersey senator Cory Booker, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

“We will take executive action to de-schedule and legalize marijuana nationwide and expunge as many prior marijuana-related convictions as possible,” wrote the Sanders campaign in response to a questionnaire supplied to all presidential candidates on what executive actions they would commit to. Warren wrote on prospect.org, “I support delisting marijuana as a Schedule I drug to limit federal intervention when states have already legalized marijuana…I also support the full legalization of marijuana and restorative justice for those unjustly jailed for marijuana crimes.” Her office confirmed that this was an endorsement of administrative de-scheduling.

Cannabis has become too big to ignore in terms of its economic impact, its health benefits as an alternative to opioids, and its use as an agriculture necessity. From food to medicine to pet wellness to stress relief, cannabis is here to stay, and we’re well on our way to changing the stigma.

The Fit List, Instant Potted Plants, and More.

  • Fresh research confirms Denver and Colorado Springs are among the healthiest cities in US. Read
  • This vegan cookbook proves that plants and pots go together. Read
  • January 28 is National Plan for Vacation Day 2020. Read
  • What Matters This Month Read
  • Yoga-inspired dog wear is finally here Read
  • Apricot Lane Boutique is the newest fashion boutique at the Belmar Center in Lakewood. Read
  • Vortic is taking vintage timepieces to a new level. Read
  • Combine a mother mushroom and hops and you get a drink that blends the best of kombucha and beer. Read
  • If looks could kill, you’d slay all day… Read

The Fit List

Fresh research confirms Denver and Colorado Springs are among the healthiest cities in US.

The MindBody Wellness Index surveyed the most populous 50 cities in the US and ranked them by health. In 2020, Miami topped the list as the healthiest city in America. A number of factors contribute to a city’s score, including how much locals prioritize wellness and ultimately invest in it (including fitness, beauty and grooming, and integrative health services), their healthy habits (across multiple dimensions of wellness), and the success of wellness businesses within the city.

Denver, which came in at number four behind Atlanta and San Francisco, is home to some of the most dedicated fitness fans in the country. Over 80 percent of residents work out at least once a week. And those sweat sessions are paying off; 40 percent say they’re satisfied or very satisfied with their fitness level (compared to the national average of only 31 percent). Denver residents especially love yoga and weight/strength training, and the top reason Denver works out is to feel good. The same research put Colorado Springs as the 24th healthiest city in America, based on physical activity, BMI, alcohol consumption, connection to the community, healthy eating, and spiritual wellness.


Instant Potted Plants

This vegan cookbook proves that plants and pots go together.

Nisha Vora may be one of the most brilliant and flavor-forward, down-to-earth vegan chefs you’ll come across. She has devoted her life to finding delicious, nonboring ways to make plant-based eating the greatest thing since vegan sliced bread. Though she started out as a lawyer, her story isn’t unlike most. She worked hard, joined a legal team, but after two years realized that she wasn’t happy. So, she threw caution to the wind, quit her job, and she and her partner backpacked around the world for six months. In that time, she gained a totally new perspective on life, which included transitioning to veganism. Not only did Vora adjust her own lifestyle, she started blogging about it, learning the art of food photography, and launched a highly successful platform sharing her thoughts, her poems, her musings, and her recipes for living an intentional life.

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook features 90 recipes meant to be made in an Instant Pot pressure cooker and includes cooking tips and cooking guides. Between the YouTube tutorials, brand partnerships, and overall awareness raised around the joy of cooking, Vora is doing more than making plant-based eating appealing. She’s making it downright gorgeous and practical.

The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook / $15 on Amazon


Plan to Get Going

January 28 is National Plan for Vacation Day 2020, a campaign organized by the US Travel Association. The goal is that you plan your vacation days for the full year at the start of it. If your anxiety spikes at the thought of committing to anything a month in advance (feel you on that!), there are a bunch of reasons to consider daydreaming about your dream trip this month. First, the mere act of planning a getaway is shown to improve happiness, boost morale, prevent burnout, and reduce stress. Second, Americans who plan their vacation time are more likely to use it to venture away from home (76 percent) compared to non-planners (50 percent), according to the US Travel Association. And people who actually do get away report they are happier with their job, company, relationship, and health. Carve out some time on the third Tuesday of the month and commit to taking some time off. It’ll be good for you.


Sensibilities

What Matters This Month by Stephanie Wilson

1. Goals are the new resolutions. And since we’re in a new decade, let’s set loftier targets, hit them, surpass them. Where do you want to be in 2025? 2030? Start manifesting the life you want. In the shorter term, however…

2. Manifest the outfits you want by signing up for Nuuly clothing rental from Free People’s parent co. For just $88/mo., you get six temporary additions to your wardrobe—perfect excuse to try out new trends.

3. Be extra extra. I resolved to be just that at the start of last year. Met that goal and have a photo of the statement jacket I borrowed from Nuuly as proof. See @stephwilll if you’re curious just how extra “extra extra” is.

4. See Also: posts about my apartment/urban jungle.

5. Putting it out there now. I’m setting my first intention for 2020: I will get my place featured on Apartment Therapy as a home tour this year. Boom.

6. Wanna be my goal buddy? DM or post a comment—we’ll start a club. One with books and discussions involved. Community and knowledge will result. We’ll call it…The Book Club. Let’s do this.


Downward Dog

Yoga-inspired dog wear is finally here. How did our pooches live without this apparel? If only they could tell us. Alas, we’ll just have to trust they are able to move freely and comfortably during zoomies thanks to a new line from Pet Life. The collection features state-of-the-art materials that are antimicrobial, quick-drying, and breathable. The collection includes stretchy dog T-shirts, polos, full-body gear, tank tops, and hoodies.

“It took years to develop this collection after studying what the leading activewear manufacturers are doing in the human space,” says Joseph Braha of Pet Life. “We understand the yoga fashion market very well and how dog yoga is becoming a larger trend.”

With breathable four-way stretch fabric, the Eboneflow dog yoga T-shirt worn here starts at $43.

shop.petlife.com


Boutique Buys

Apricot Lane Boutique is the newest fashion boutique at the Belmar Center in Lakewood. A locally owned women’s and teen shop offering a handpicked assortment of on-trend clothing, accessories, and gifts, Apricot Lane Boutique has a curated collection of casual and going-out styles of well-known and up-and-coming brands along with a great selection of the latest denim brands. “Think of us as your fashion fairy godmother: we transform your look by providing the outfits of your dreams,” said Owner Lisa Hild in a recent press release. Cheesy? Yes. Still a cool store worth checking out? For sure.

apricotlaneboutique.com


Going Back in Time

Vortic is taking vintage timepieces to a new level.

Vortic Watch Company is a small-batch, vintage timepiece restoration company headquartered in Southern Colorado. Vortic offers several wrist watch lines: American Artisan, Railroad Edition, Military Edition, and Red Rocks Edition. You can also have your own timepiece custom-made from your own family’s heirlooms with the “convert your watch” program.

Each line is unique, from the American Artisan pieces made from upcycled parts to the Railroad Edition’s removable bezel and other features. The newest line, Military Edition, features meticulously restored AN5740-1 pocket watches, which were commissioned by the United States government at the beginning of World War II. The originals were designed to withstand altitude as they were utilized by navigators on bomber aircrafts including B-17s and B-29s, equipped as stop watches, used as location devices, and made to meet very clear specifications to ensure the navigators would always have accurate time.

Timepieces steeped in American culture combined with the Vortic promise to preserve history through truly refined and unique watches is what sets them apart.

$1,295–$6,995 | vorticwatches.com


Strange Brew

Combine a mother mushroom and hops and you get a drink that blends the best of kombucha and beer.

Kombucha is that increasingly popular drink that owes its probiotic properties and tangy taste to a mother fungus. Beer is, well, you know. Kombucha can contain small amounts of alcohol due to fermentation, and it also mixes well into a cocktail, but Unity Vibration has taken the pairing one step further with its kombucha beers. They combine the healthy tonic with organic hops and fruit flavors ranging from ginger to peaches to elderberries to create a concoction that’s easy to sip. Just be prepared: it packs a whopping 8 to 9.1 percent ABV. The Bourbon Peach is the beer snob’s favorite, and the Raspberry is a crowd pleaser.

unityvibrationkombucha.com


Expletive Infixation

If looks could kill, you’d slay all day… No, actually, you wouldn’t because you’re not totally cliché like that. You’ve got all sorts of style, and you’re used to standing out in crowds of Coloradans. You’re a badass statement maker who commands attention when you walk in a room. Maison BangBang’s latest release lets you make an effin’ statement without so much as parting your lips. The US-designed, French-made products are produced in super limited numbers and sold exclusively through the company’s website. This limited-edition unisex Nessuno Black & Gold Rosé bag, crafted from non-animal leather and adorned with a gold rosé motif, is going for $449.

maisonbangbang.com

Erin Darling Torralva, creator of the podcast Hot Pizza Ass, delivers more than a good laugh.

Hot AF, funny AF, and unwilling to dumb herself down, Erin Darling Torralva, creator of the Hot Pizza Ass podcast, is the kind of take-me-as-I-am force of nature every woman can (and should) appreciate. Torralva is a Latina writer, comedian, actress, and no-bullshit artist who delves deep (unrelentingly so) into body image, self-love, sexual orientation, and how women are all too often marginalized in society.

The Hot Pizza Ass podcast focuses on how inspirational people work through these challenges in their everyday lives to shine their light and become who they’re meant to be in this world. In other words, it’s not cotton-candy talk. It’s blow-the-goddamn-house-down kind of talk, and Torralva’s bubbly and snarky disposition is why it’s so entertaining.

Before Hot Pizza Ass, writing was her first love. “Growing up, I identified more as a writer than a performer. My favorite toy was a typewriter,” says Torralva. “I was always writing plays and trying to get my brother and cousins to act them out in the backyard.” In middle school, she attended a performing arts school. She loved the spotlight, but after she graduated from college, she was in an accident that gave her a concussion and left her face disfigured.

She battled a range of fears, uncertain of how her face would heal. But once she did heal, she saw life through a more daring lens. “It took me a while to feel comfortable on stage again, but then I just went for it,” she says. “You never know what tomorrow is going to bring. You might as well try everything you want to try and explore all of your curiosities and passions, so I took the leap, committed, and in the process learned how to believe in myself. That was also a springboard to me doing stand-up.”

Comedy comes naturally to Torralva. Through self-deprecating content, a waggish approach, and having the knack to turn the negative into a comical positive, she approaches every part of her life with alacrity. “My hope is that I can be a positive voice by making a conscious effort to do what it takes every day.” Torralva elaborates, “It’s so easy to be negative or pulled down by the situations around you—especially if they’re stressful. We’re only human after all, but when you focus on gratitude, empathy, and being kind to yourself, you have a shot at turning it around. It takes legitimate effort to be positive, but the effort is worth it.”

In a time where women are embodying the strength they yield as empowered and equal, Torralva owns her inner feminist and supports other women in the industry. “We [women] have to stop being competitive and stop comparing ourselves to our peer group. Go to their shows, retweet their good news, tell them when you like something they did instead of acting like you didn’t see it. And most importantly, stop talking shit. We have enough hurdles to jump. Let’s have each other’s backs. I’m a big believer in that.”

According to a KPMG Women’s Leadership study, 67 percent of women said they needed more support to build confidence and feel like they can be leaders. Torralva is also a firm believer in growing your confidence and recognizing what it is that makes you want to stand tall. “Crushing it makes me feel confident. Acquiring a new skill, committing to it, and getting really good at it,” she says. “Whether it’s communicating with other people, sticking it out through a really tough workout, or closing in on a goal I’ve been working toward—these are the things that make me feel confident.”
Born in San Jose in the Silicon Valley, Torralva was surrounded less with the entertainment industry and more with technology. The ever-increasing influx of evolving tech gave her a curiosity to learn. The Bay Area also happens to be home to several sports franchises she’s a big fan of. “I take pride in where I’m from. All of my favorite sports teams are still from my hometown. That will never change. I’ll always be loyal to my soil.”

Being devoted to where she’s from also translates into being committed to working hard and not being afraid of taking on new challenges. “I have learned that hard work doesn’t always pay off, but consistent work does. You can work your ass off every day, put pressure on yourself, lose passion, and burn out. Or you can focus on working a certain amount every day, be dedicated with the time that you have set aside for your art, trust the process, and stay inspired. I love seeing people really going for it, but talent takes time to develop no matter what you do or who you are,” Torralva says. “We often forget that because we’ve all been sold on the idea of becoming an overnight success. It’s so easy to romanticize, but slow, steady, dogged perseverance through obstacles, frustration, and rejection wins the race.”

One of the things that Torralva has done is take her own insecurities and flip them on their head by accepting her curves, her love of pizza, and telling everyone else to stop their inner mean-girl talk and be kinder to themselves. That’s how her podcast Hot Pizza Ass came to be.

“I posted an Instagram photo with a piece of pizza on my butt. I wrote a caption about self-love and acceptance. It read, ‘This is my body, it changes every day, and I love it.’ This was a big leap for me. I’ve struggled with eating disorders and haven’t always had the healthiest relationship with my body, so posting a photo that showed my body and announced that I was actively choosing to love it was terrifying for me. I was fearful that I would be made fun of, and judged.”

According to a study done by Dove for its Self-Esteem Project, by the time girls reach the tender age of 17, 78 percent will be unhappy with their bodies and 47 percent of girls aged 11 to 14 refuse to take part in activities that might “show their bodies in any way.” In that same study, only 4 percent of women worldwide said they consider themselves beautiful. Women’s relationship to their bodies has been one of complication, and Torralva wants to be instrumental in changing that.

Torralva admits, “I archived the photo three times after posting it. When I finally got the courage to read some of the comments, something amazing happened. I saw so much support. I realized I wasn’t alone. This feeling was relatable for so many others. I knew it was a platform I wanted to create for myself. If my moment of strength, talking about my insecurities, and my journey of self-love resonated with other people, I knew interviewing people about their self-love struggles could be inspiring and helpful to a greater audience.”

A remembrance of our favorite Starman.

On January 10, 2016, David Bowie turned from starman to stardust, just two days after his 69th birthday. I comfort myself by thinking of his passing as just another facet of his eternal evolution—as a musician, as an artist, and as an icon. After all, his appetite for change and transformation was one of his most defining features. But every January, I feel a bit haunted by his spirit, as if he has become the patron saint of self-reflection in death just as he was a man of it in life.

Bowie’s journey as a musician was not linear nor was it safe. He did not color between the lines. And he did not record within them either. His artistic career was an exercise in showing the world the creature that was Bowie even as that creature morphed before our very eyes (and ears).

In memoriam, four years after Starman Bowie joined his fellow celestials, we offer up some of the lesser known and more interesting Bowie factoids that showcase the complex creativity of this captivating artist.
Bowie was a British invader.

At the height of the British Invasion, Bowie’s first recordings in 1967—with Deram records—tapped into that contemporary sound. His self-titled LP, David Bowie, was not well received.

Recommended:
“Love You Till Tuesday” (David Bowie, 1967)
“Did You Ever Have a Dream” (The Deram Anthology 1966-1968)
Bowie wrote, but didn’t
release, Glam Rock’s Anthem
“All the Young Dudes.”

Written by Bowie for and recorded by Mott the Hoople in 1972, “All the Young Dudes” is #256 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and one of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”

It took exactly three minutes and 32 seconds for David Bowie to become a superstar.

On June 6, 1972, David Bowie looked directly into the camera during his performance of “Starman” on Britain’s Top of the Pops, pointed at the home audience, and changed the image of rock and roll forever. In this same appearance, he also unapologetically showcased the sexually inclusive and gender fluid identity of Glam Rock. Ask nearly any British boomer about the most memorable TV moment from their youth and this is likely to be it.

Recommended:
David Bowie Is (documentary film, 2013)
Bowie spent the ’90s
recording Industrial Pop.
Earthlings (1997) is Bowie’s strongest industrial influenced album thanks in part to the single “I’m Afraid of Americans,” a timely collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. However, Bowie made a name for himself within the genre several years earlier in 1992 when he recorded the title track “Real Cool World” for the techno-heavy soundtrack to the cult action/animated fantasy film Cool World.
Recommended:
“Little Wonder” (Earthling, 1997)
“Dead Man Walking” (Earthling, 1997)
Bowie’s musical career
spanned over 50 years.
During this time, he released 27 studio albums, 11 live albums, 51 compilation albums, eight EPs, 128 singles, 5 UK number-one singles, 4 soundtracks, 14 video albums, and 72 music videos.
If we could recommend one Bowie album, and only one, it would be Hunky Dory (1972).

In 2010, Time named Hunky Dory, along with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, as one of its 100 best albums of all time. The first track, and iconic single, “Changes” introduces us to a Bowie consumed by his own desire to evolve. “Life on Mars,” also on Hunky Dory, tops The Daily Telegraph’s 2015 list of “100 Greatest Songs of All Time” and, in 2016, Pitchfork named it the best song of the 1970s. The recording featured, for the first time, all the band members who Bowie dubbed “The Spiders From Mars” during his time as Ziggy Stardust.

Six ridiculous cannabis laws and regulations that made it onto the books across the country.

Cannabis prohibition is falling like an old empire across the United States. Yet not all new laws and regulations surrounding cannabis are winners. There are many laws in legal marijuana markets, both medical and adult-use, that are not based on data but are in fact quite arbitrary. At best, these regulations are off-base. At worst, they are curtailing access for medical patients who desperately need to access their medication. Laws have forced patients, adult consumers, and cannabis companies alike to jump through unnecessary hoops in order to get weed. But why?

Lawmakers have predisposed notions of what would happen if weed became legal. Unfortunately, many of the laws you see today were written by people coming from the perspective of a deeply ingrained “Reefer Madness” culture. Those in charge fear repercussions that are simply not backed by the data. When laws are developed through that lens, they are not likely to make a lot of sense.

It will take time to iron out these regulations, but someday they will be history. Fingers crossed. Here are six ridiculous, arbitrary, and damaging cannabis laws across the country.

1. No Restrooms Allowed

In West Hollywood, a lot of attention has been given to the country’s first open cannabis consumption lounge licensee. The Original Cannabis Cafe
(previously known as Lowell Farms) has one
bizarre quirk in its regulations forced by zoning. The restroom, formerly a part of the building located within the walls of the restaurant, had to be built out with a separate entrance.

The café owners told Sensi they were asked to disconnect the bathroom from the main building space. This forces customers to exit the front door and walk around the exterior of the building to use the restroom. Before opening its doors in October 2019, the restaurant scrambled to comply with this seemingly arbitrary building requirement.

As far as zoning is concerned, cannabis consumption needs to happen in a closed space. It is all very confusing. But the first cannabis consumption licenses to get off the ground will undoubtedly have some kinks.

2. Limited Lineup

Yes, there is a medical marijuana program in New York. No, it is not making a dent in the demand in the unlicensed market. This can be attributed to the state’s strict regulations, which make it so the only available products are items that aren’t as popular with medical patients.

Products in New York are limited to edible cannabis concentrate oil, capsules, or topicals. You can’t smoke it. Keep in mind, the allowable cannabis concentrate oil is not the same as the popular oils you’d dab with or put in a vape pen. You also can’t buy edibles that are already made with cannabis. Just capsules. New York consumers and patients do not have the option of regular ol’ flower.

This tight restriction on the products available for sale has deterred many cannabis patients, store owners, and cultivators from participating. While its medical program was enacted in 2014 by the Compassionate Care Act, the state has fewer than 30 medical dispensaries five years later.

3. Environmentally Unfriendly

All the largest markets have one unfortunate regulation in common: You cannot recycle or reuse any cannabis packaging. In Oregon, plastic childproof containers are required, but once the container is used to store cannabis, it is not allowed to be recycled, meaning all this plastic packaging ends up in landfills. The Bureau of Cannabis Control in California and Washington State laws make recycling products difficult. Colorado does not have any language in place for the recycling of cannabis containers.

It will become a Goliath issue if these laws are not amended to make practical recycling a part of the cannabis industry. Companies want to recycle, and they want a safe and effective way to reuse the old vape cartridges that are brought back into the store. Bad news is, because of these strict state regulations, they can’t. One solution companies are finding is to begin with recycled and reclaimed plastic, like products made by Sana. An innovative company called TerraCycle offers another solution in melting down and cleaning cannabis packaging waste. But like all other industries grappling with the plastic problem, the most impactful changes will be made top-down, not at the consumer level.

4. Not Fit to Print

Marketing regulations for the cannabis industry are a patchwork of chaos. There remain a limited number of ways that companies can advertise, and those laws vary state-by-state. Facebook and Instagram have gone out of their way to shadow ban cannabis companies, sometimes deleting the accounts of licensed, legal businesses. Google AdWords doesn’t play nicely with cannabis companies either, offering payment ad options to very few exceptions. In Colorado, you can’t advertise on billboards, on mobile, in banners, or in handout leaflets. California allows cannabis companies to advertise on billboards, but there is currently a lawsuit attempting to ban that method.

As a result of this mess, the industry has gotten creative with advertising. This very magazine is one avenue that exists without restriction, paving the way for marketing in the cannabis world.

5. Mandatory Monopoly

Some cannabis regulations go so far as to defy capitalism at its core. In Vermont’s medical cannabis program, for example, a registered patient must choose one—and only one—dispensary to buy from. Patients can change their designated dispensary, but only once every 30 days, and only for a $50 fee. The cost is an access issue for many medical patients.

Another peculiar move for Vermont: while any 21-plus adult can legally grow two mature and four immature plants for personal use outside in the sunshine (fenced yard, screened from public view), medical cannabis patients must grow indoors if they want to take advantage of the higher plant count available to them (seven immature).

6. Cash or… Cash

States that legalize cannabis want cannabis tax money. But they don’t allow companies to have a safe way to pay their bills, pay their employees, and to store revenue. Until the SAFE Banking Act makes its way through the Senate and eventually to the desk of President Trump, there is a massive regulatory issue. Dispensaries across the country are forced to operate as cash-only businesses—in a cash-only billion-dollar industry.

Stripe, Square, and other payment apps are cracking down not only on cannabis businesses, including CBD businesses, but on ancillary companies as well. Hopefully a solution will be found in the SAFE Banking Act. Cannabis businesses need to be able to lean on legitimate financial institutions.

Is “OK, boomer” a slur, a sign of increasing generational conflict, or just a meme-able mic drop?

Caitlin Fisher, an Ohio writer who describes herself as “queer as hell, autistic, prone to sudden outbursts of encouragement” and a lover of avocados, cats, plants, and soy chai lattes, released a new book this year, The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation, based on a blog post by the same name that caught Twitter’s fancy and went viral in 2016. “The millennial generation has been tasked with fixing the broken system we inherited and chastised for not doing it right or daring to suggest improvements,” she wrote in the original post. “If you think we’re doing a bad job, ask yourself how it got this way in the first place.”

For Fisher, “OK, boomer”—the catch phrase that has surfaced as a way to dismiss stubborn, intolerant older folks—is nothing new. “We live in a meme culture, and this is a viral punchline,” she says. “It’s the new ‘whatever,’ a mic drop of, ‘I’m not dealing with this anymore.’”

Most boomers were blissfully unaware of the phrase “OK, boomer” until this fall, when a 25-year-old member of the New Zealand Parliament let it fly during a speech about climate change and the New York Times ran a “Style” section piece on it. Nearly every mainstream media outlet followed suit. Establishment boomers, publicly butt-hurt, declared intergenerational war, culminating in 60-year-old radio host Bob Lonsberry calling the phrase “the n-word of ageism” in a tweet he later deleted. Reaction was swift, fierce, and often hilarious. “You can’t say that, #boomer is our word,” @JazzHendrix tweeted. “But you can say booma.”

Though new to the mainstream media, on the subReddit
r/BoomerTears, 17,400 members post “any sour or garbage logic from boomers explaining why they’re special or complaining.” #BoomerAdvice, blasting out-of-touch words of wisdom from you know who, trends pretty regularly on Twitter. And of course, there’s a viral TikTok of a white-haired boomer ranting while a teenager scribbles “OK, Boomer” (flanked with hearts) on his notebook as well as an “OK, booomer” song that has spawned 4,000 TikToks. Hoodies, t-shirts, phone cases, and stickers emblazoned with the phrase are available on Redbubble and Spreadshirt.

This is not your father’s generation gap; memes like “OK, boomer” spread exponentially faster in 4G. “We can talk to people across the world, and we have the power to create whole new movements and share information really fast,” Fisher says. “Teenagers are no longer rolling their eyes at the dinner table. Now, teenagers are joining the revolution.”

What Is This Revolution?

Millennials—along with their predecessors, Gen X, and successors, Gen Z—are angry. And whether they deserve it or not, boomers are taking the blame for social and historical factors that haven’t been kind to the generations that followed them. Boomers got college degrees “for the price of a McChicken,” according to one Redditor, while millennials are strapped with record student loan debt. The climate crisis and the rising tide of nationalism, inequality, and economic uncertainty all happened under the boomers’ watch. They elected Donald Trump.

Even to boomers, it’s pretty clear this hippie-cum-capitalist generation kicked a lot of cans down the road while they were chasing profits and partying like it was 1999 (well into the 21st century). “How many world leaders for how many decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors? My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury,” Chlöe Swarbrick told the New Zealand Parliament in her climate speech just before she dropped the OK bomb.

Even more maddening, boomers won’t acknowledge that younger generations are being forced to operate in a completely different economy, without the equity and safeguards boomers had and with huge fear about the future. “The world is just different,” says 30-year-old Lindsey Turnbull, who owns an empowerment company for teen and tween girls, MissHeard Media. “We need the adults to acknowledge that and not brush kids’ very real worries off as hormones.”

These millennials are quick to point out that not every boomer is a “boomer” (thank God!). And furthermore, anyone who is intolerant to new ideas and unwilling to unlearn their biases can be “OK, boomered.” It’s more about attitude than ageism.

“I know how exhausting it can be to debate with people, especially online, who are really adamant about not seeing another point of view,” says Turnbull. “‘OK, boomer’ just says you’re not wasting all that time and emotional energy trying to come up with a well-thought-out response when the person on the other side doesn’t listen.”

Trending on White Twitter

One of the biggest issues many people see with this meme-inspired revolution is that its guerrillas tend to be of a type—upper-middle-class white youth—and they’re complaining about issues like lack of economic opportunity and silencing that people of color have been dealing with for centuries. Black Twitter sees #OkBoomer as nothing more than disrespect for elders. “White Brogressives never cared about income inequity when it was just black or brown folks on the wrong end of it,” @Wonderbitch82 posted.

Bhaskar Sunkara, founder of Jacobin magazine and author of The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality, believes white upper middle-class youth who find themselves shut out of the housing market and exploited by the gig economy should aim their angst at investment bankers, not boomers. “These young people are surrounded by baby boomers who’ve hoarded all the wealth and polluted the planet in the process; they haven’t had to witness—or deal with the ramifications of—old age and precarity for millions of working people in that generational cohort,” he writes in the Guardian. “Instead they get to revel without self-reflection in oedipal angst about their elders—many of whom were kind enough to pass them their ill-gotten privileges.”

Fisher doesn’t disagree. “It’s important to acknowledge that ‘OK, boomer’ is about privileged older people, baby boomers in Congress who keep voting to give themselves pay raises but don’t want poor older people to have affordable health care,” she says. “While we’re fighting against the ‘royal boomer’ we can’t ignore the needs of older people in our communities. Ageism is really serious. There’s elder abuse, and medical debt is bankrupting older Americans. We can’t point to all older people and say they are the problem the way they point to our generation and say we are the problem. We have to open up the conversation.”

The conversation opens up for Turnbull, who lives in Washington, DC, when she mingles with people of all ages during political marches and protests. But in many places in the US, opportunities for cross-generational conversation are becoming rare as children are shunted into age-based sports and activities while the elderly are sent to care facilities, says Timiko Tanka, an associate professor of sociology at James Madison University. “As is said in an African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” she says. “But today, many children are growing up without such a community.”

Tanka says intergenerational care centers, which are starting to crop up across the country, have been proven to be useful in reducing age-based prejudice and stereotyping. In her Social Gerontology course, students spend at least 20 hours interacting and becoming comfortable with elderly people—so comfortable that by the end of the semester, they’re playing cards together. Schools, care facilities, and municipal governments need to create more opportunities for people to share different perspectives, she says.

“‘OK, boomer’ is a warning that we need to find a bridge, not a wall, and have meaningful conversation,” says Tanka.

So Sad: For people with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

You know you need to exercise and socialize, but it’s all you can do to drag yourself to work in the dark, try to focus while you’re there, then drag yourself back home in the dark.

Maybe you rely a little too much on your favorite substance to numb your aggro. Maybe you binge on pretzel crisps, then beat yourself up because you should be eating kale chips—or no chips at all.

You wonder why you’re even on this cold, bleak planet. Every morning you want to pull the covers over your head and pretend your life isn’t happening. Some days you do.

For about five percent of Americans, this nightmare is a recurring reality. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) settles in just as winter does and doesn’t lift until spring. It’s been plaguing humans for centuries—French physician Philippe Pinel noted the onset of mental deterioration in psychiatric patients in his 1806 Treatise on Insanity—but it wasn’t included in the American Psychiatric Association’s official manual until 1987.

While studying the impact of light on mental health in the early 1980s, National Institute of Mental Health researcher Norman Rosenthal discovered Seasonal Affective Disorder, a recurrent annual depression characterized by hypersomnia, social withdrawal, overeating and carbohydrate cravings, and a lack of sexual energy that seems to respond to changes in climate and latitude. About 1.5 percent of Floridians have SAD, Rosenthal found, compared with nearly 10 percent of New Hampshirites.
No one knows why some people get SAD and others don’t. There seems to be a link to alcoholism as well as a genetic history of depression and bipolar disorder. Numerous studies have shown a correlation between SAD and the reduced ability to transport the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people with SAD produce too much serotonin transporter protein in winter, leaving less of the “feel good” hormone available.

Rosenthal suggests lack of sunlight throws off circadian rhythm and interferes with the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for hormones. This causes abnormalities in the genes responsible for both serotonin transmission and retinal light sensitivity. Just recently, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered a third photo receptor in the eye that syncs our internal clocks with daylight and provides a direct pathway to the areas of the brain that affect mood—backing up the ocular part of Rosenthal’s theory.

When your brain stops producing serotonin, it starts pumping out melatonin, the sleep hormone that responds to darkness, instead. This naturally makes you lethargic and groggy, and your brain’s instinct to correct serotonin deficiency could be the cause of your monster carb cravings, according to NIMH.

Studies have also found a link between vitamin D, which the skin produces after sunlight exposure, and serotonin production. In northern climates, rays aren’t strong enough to trigger vitamin D production during winter months. This suggests that vitamin D supplements might help with SAD, but studies have been inconclusive.

Torch It

There is no cure, per se, for SAD. The most prominent treatment is light therapy to replace sunlight with bright artificial light. You need to sit for about 30 minutes in the morning in front of a light box (readily available online) that exposes you to at least 10,000 lux of UV-free cool-white fluorescent or full-spectrum light—20 times more than regular indoor lighting. (You get 50,000 lux on a sunny day.)

The treatment is not unlike indoor tanning beds (but without the tan), and researchers speculate that frequent tanners might be self-medicating for SAD as much as getting their tans on. (Excessive indoor tanning is now recognized as a psychological disorder.) Red River College in Manitoba, Canada, offers light therapy stations for students who are suffering and also loans out portable SAD lamps.

Response to light therapy generally begins within a week or two, and its effectiveness seems to depend on how severe your SAD is. Studies have found that light treatment in the morning causes remission in two-thirds of patients with mild episodes but less than half with moderate to severe cases.

Light therapy is also being studied as a treatment for other types of depression, sleep disorders, and dementia, among other conditions. It’s not safe for people with diabetes and retinopathies and may contraindicate with certain medications.

Greens and Goals

Experts will try to tell you that your best bet for dealing with SAD is to get yourself up and out there, living your best life. This is clearly easier said than done when your serotonin-deprived, melatonin-drenched brain is begging for a long winter nap. You need outside help.

Lean on a good therapist or coach, in person or online, and let your inner circle know you need a little extra attention. Tell them not to take no for an answer when you try to weasel out of the Mardi Gras party. Find a workout buddy.

No matter what, succumbing to the urge to sink back under the covers will only make things worse. Sunlight is most effective against SAD in the morning, so that’s the time to get out there. An intense morning workout can do a lot—but again, be nice to yourself if you can’t make that happen. Taking a brisk walk whenever you can—even on cloudy days, sunlight filters through—is powerful medicine.

Moving your body, whether running or practicing yoga, and eating a diet rich in protein and greens are helpful when SAD is hovering. It also can’t hurt to give yourself something to live for as the dreary months drag along. Set short-term goals and see yourself reaping the benefits in the spring. This could be as simple as knitting an afghan, reading a classic, or trimming your fall harvest—anything you find worth getting out of bed for.

Those instincts to pull the duvet over your head and sleep the winter away aren’t wrong, by the way. Humans evolved to be less active in winter because they needed to save energy when food was scarce, but modern Type A culture never cuts us any slack—even when we’re going to and coming home from work in the dark.

An introduction to the ancient practice of chromotherapy.

Your aura is purple. (“What?” you’re thinking. I can see it on your face.) Purple! I said your aura is purple!

Fine, I can’t really tell what color your aura is from where I’m sitting. Or from anywhere; I’ve never seen anyone’s aura. Last week, I still held the belief that auras were “such total and utter bullshit,” to quote snow_enthusiast’s answer to a post on the subject in the /r/isitbullshit subreddit. But here’s the beauty of making magazines for a living: you get to learn new things all the time.

I learned I was wrong to assume auras were some sort of metaphysical woo-woo, something being peddled by calm yoga teachers to eager crowds of Onzie-clad pretty people. But as I fell down a rainbow-hued rabbit hole in a quest for information about how color affects one’s health—physically, mentally, emotionally—I discovered that color is everything. Really, truly: everything.

Put another way, everything that exists in this world is a combination of different colors, and every color is a form of energy, every shade vibrating on its own frequency. (It has to do with light and electromagnetic radiation and the visual spectrum. We’ll go into the science more later; just stay with me.) Every part of our body—organs, limbs, cells, atoms, whatnot—has its own distinct color, which in turn has its own vibrational energy, each organ vibrating in harmony with the frequencies of those colors, which exist in wavelengths that don’t fall within the “visual spectrum,” or light the human eye can perceive. Auras are composed of wavelengths the eye cannot discern.

Full disclosure: it was dark when I fell down this colorful rabbit hole. And I was trying to stay out of the dark place I got stuck in last winter when struck by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The world was cold and gray, I was blue. Light therapy is shown to be effective for SAD (see the feature on p.42 for more on that), but for me, I wanted more than intermittent blasts of light for temporary relief. I wanted to surround myself with warmth, my apartment to be saturated by it, my body to be draped in it. What that looked like, exactly, I wasn’t sure. I wondered, is color the answer?

Color Is Everything

Turns out humans have been asking themselves questions like this since forever. The history of color as medicine is as old as that of any other medicine, according to a critical analysis of chromotherapy research undertaken by Samina T. Yousuf Azeemi and Syed Mohsin Raza, published in 2005 by Oxford University Press. Chromotherapy is a method of treatment that uses the visual spectrum (colors) of electromagnetic radiation to cure diseases, and the physicists’ research found a number of studies that have elaborated on the relationship between the human body and colors. This shouldn’t be confused with color psychology, which looks at the influence of colors on human behavior. We’ll get into that in a bit. First, we’ll start at the beginning: ancient Egypt.

While ancient Greece, China, and India were using phototherapy (sunlight), Egyptians used color for healing as well. According to Egyptian mythology, the art of chromotherapy was discovered by Thoth, the god of writing, wisdom, and the moon. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks used colored minerals, stones, crystals, salves, and dyes as remedies and painted treatment sanctuaries in various shades. (Technically more color psychology than chromotherapy but we’ll let it slide.)

Fast forward a few thousand years, and in the late 1800s, The Principles of Light and Color reports that rays of color/light can affect the blood stream, which in turn affects the full body. Later research confirms this, and one researcher found it to be a complete therapeutic system for 123 major illnesses.

Today, bright white, full-spectrum light is being used in the treatment of cancers, SAD, anorexia, bulimia, insomnia, jet lag, shift working, alcohol and drug addiction, and more. Blue light has been shown to help treat rheumatoid arthritis and is used to help heal injured tissue, prevent scar tissue, and is used for burns and lung conditions.

Since 1990, it’s been used in the treatment of a wide variety of psychological problems, including addictions, eating disorders, and depression. Red light helps with cancer and constipation. It can improve athletic performance: red light for short, quick bursts of energy; blue light to encourage steadier energy output. Pink light is said to have a tranquilizing effect, which is why it’s often used by police in holding cells.

Basically, chromotherapy is as tested a practice as any of the “alternative” medicines today—Ayurveda, acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology—and more research is needed. The researchers conclude: “Chromotherapy as a system of treatment can benefit people because of its harmony with nature. Everything that exists in this world is a combination of different colors.”

Vibrant Vibrations

On the flipside, studies about the psychology of color are spurred by motivated marketers trying to tap into our wallets through our psyches. It might seem like a relatively new development, but 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, she’s the world’s leading authority on the topic of color. In The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition, she writes about how 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,” says Eisman.

She notes 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.

A good part of the emotions that colors evoke is tied to natural phenomena. Yellow, the color of the sun, is associated with warmth and joy. Blue with steady dependability, calm, and serenity. Green 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.

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.

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. (See the sidebar for local resources where you can learn more.)

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 to explore near Denver and Boulder, as wellness studios, spas, and alternative medicine practices incorporate chromotherapy treatments into their offerings. At Vive Float Studio in Cherry Creek and Frisco, the infrared sauna features 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.

Editor’s Note: This Month’s Cover Feature

This month’s cover feature was written, as most things with my byline are, in the middle of the night, my finishing touches and flourishes (or the reining-in-of-flourishes, as often is the case) happening right around dawn.* As I wrapped up a piece about how color is literally everything, dawn arrived. The early morning rays saturated the world just beyond my keyboard with brilliant hues that ultimately underlined the point I was trying to make: color is everything.
Color is light, light is energy, energy is everywhere, vibrating all around us. There’s a reason we don’t see the world in black and white, and it’s because we’re literally vibing with the colors all around us. No, that’s not hippie-dippy BS; that’s science. If you don’t believe me, I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t have either when I set out to write what turned into a feature on color as medicine. I was planning on putting together a quick-and-easy story on how adding color to your wardrobe and home decor could help combat the winter blues. 
There’s so much more to it than that. Colors help us navigate the world. There is a reason we don’t see the world in black
and white. 
With that in mind, we’ve packed this issue with topics that cover the full spectrum of what’s new and what’s next. It’s our way of celebrating the arrival of a new year, a new decade. A ray of light in the middle of a long winter, a reminder to be brilliant and send good vibes out to the world.
And if things are seeming a bit dull, don’t worry. Put on some bright yellow, and be happy.

Stephanie Wilson
@stephwilll

Here’s to the end of this issue. And here’s to the end of the decade.

Three cheers to the end of the decade. And what a decade it was. We don’t like to dwell on the past, but as the saying goes (although who said it first is up for debate): It’s ok to look back at your past, just don’t stare. 

And you should definitely
glimpse at this list we’ve compiled of random things that happened in the last 10 years.

2010: Justin Bieber is discovered
on YouTube.

2011: “I’m tired of pretending I’m not special. I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars” is said by Charlie Sheen, who also decribes himself as a warlock with tiger blood, on the Today show.

2012: The world does not end, as the Mayan calendar predicted. 

2013: “Selfie,” “FOMO,” and “twerk” added to the Oxford online dictionary.

2014: Beyoncé’s sister Solange starts swinging at Jay-Z in an elevator after the Met Gala, inspiring the “Flawless Remix” lyrics “Of course, sometimes shit go down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”

2015: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s
Hamilton is the hottest-selling ticket on Broadway.

2016: The US did not elect its first
female president.

2017: #metoo enters the lexicon.

2018: Voter turnout in the midterm
elections is the highest in a century.

2019: Two Fyre Festival documentaries drop the same week, and no one can get enough. Rumors of a series, a memoir, and more are still swirling. 

Now let’s get on with the 2020s already. The future so bright, we gotta wear shades. 

Editor’s Note

From the start, Sensi’s been all about progression. Growth is one of the two founding pillars of our company culture; humility is the other. I will be the first to admit the redesigned magazine you’re reading right now is long overdue. This is the first major overhaul of the magazine since we published the first-ever Sensi magazine covering the Denver/Boulder market in April 2016. Today, we’re making local lifestyle magazines fueled largely by cannabis industry advertisers in 12 cities coast-to-coast. 

The redesigned magazine and new branding you see here were about a year in the making. I jotted down my first notes on the subject last November while perusing old issues of Esquire magazine—the best of the best when under the editorial leadership of David Granger. He wrote about his title’s redesign in one of his editor’s notes: 

“The magazine is not an inevitability. It requires eternal vigilance. It needs to … make an argument for itself.” Elsewhere in my notebooks, I wrote down this Granger wisdom: “[a magazine] is at its best when it starts over, when it is reimagined by the people who make it in order to better address the lives of its readers.” 

So, that’s what we’re trying to do here. We glanced back to propel ourselves forward. We move onward, the only direction. And as author Jim Collins said (and I wrote down on a different page of that notebook): “[we] keep a clear distinction between what we stand for (which should never change) and how we do things (which should never stop evolving).” We stripped Sensi down to its core components and built it back up again with the reader experience in mind. With you in mind. I hope you like how it turned out. 

Stephanie Wilson

@stephwilll

Pueblo is finding its place in the post-industrial world by returning to the cottage industries that once thrived in southern Colorado.

Pueblo, Colorado, has been a crossroads for commerce since early settlers built El Pueblo Fort at the convergence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek in 1842. This geologically significant spot offers a bounty of natural resources, from sand to shale, that enterprising makers took full advantage of as the area developed. Colorado Fuel and Iron Company opened the first integrated steel mill west of the Mississippi on Pueblo’s south side in 1881 and dominated the town’s economy until the steel crash in the early 1980s caused a brutal economic depression and unemployment approaching 20 percent. 

Pueblo has struggled in the post-industrial world, but times are changing. Creatives and makers throughout southern Colorado are making their mark, forming collectives, providing education and mentoring, and nurturing the region’s traditional maker spirit. Pueblo is returning to the cottage industry economy that thrived here before it became a company town, and the maker community is leading the way. 

“Pueblo makes steel, but we also roast coffee, we design and make jewelry, we customize hot rods, and we paint murals,” Jane Fraser, a retired Colorado State University (CSU) engineering professor who founded the Pueblo Makes community collective to support local makers, writes in Watertower Place magazine. “We have great manufacturing companies that make carbon disk brakes for aircraft, towers for wind turbines, rail products, traction chains, custom kitchen cabinets, fruit-handling equipment, high-end GPS devices, bath and body products, and more. I sew.”

Fraser grew up in a paper mill town in New Jersey and immediately felt at home when she moved to Pueblo 20 years ago. Now she tries never to go north of milepost 110 on I-25, and she’s one of Pueblo’s biggest cheerleaders. “So many people use the word real about Pueblo,” she says. She was also the driving force behind Pueblo winning a $40,000 Etsy Maker Cities grant to support creative entrepreneurship and local development while helping traditionally underrepresented groups participate in the creative economy. In partnership with Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth, Etsy is also providing Maker Cities with training and ongoing cohort support from Recast City, a technical assistance firm focused on business development for the maker economy.

Spearheaded by Southern Colorado Economic Development District (SCEDD) Executive Director Shelly Dunham, the Pueblo Makers City Project is a consortium of local organizations and makers who provide training, technical assistance, and mentoring for local makers, particularly those with diverse abilities and limited economic means (many from the East Side). Fostering collaboration and community among Pueblo’s creatives, the Pueblo Makers Project includes a business accelerator for creatives, a community creative project that will culminate in a gallery show, and a web page connecting creatives to resources, opportunities, and one another. 

“This is going to make a huge difference,” says Pueblo native Katie Velarde, who has sold nearly 3,500 chakra stones and handmade bracelets through her Etsy store, Glitter Zen (glitterzen.etsy.com). “I’ve already helped about five people launch Etsy shops, and I can personally think of 15 to 20 more people who want to. There’s a huge group of artists and crafters in Pueblo who could earn extra income if they learned more about Etsy and how to launch a shop. Their hobby could become their business.” 

Impactful Employer

As part of the grant, Etsy gave members of the Pueblo Makers Project access to data that Southern Colorado Innovation Link manager and Pueblo native Mark Madic found fascinating. “There are 657 artists in the area that sell primarily on Etsy,” Madic says. “That’s an impactful number. Most of those artists have full-time employment from e-commerce as makers or creatives—so it’s one of the biggest employers in the area.”

Southern Colorado makers are producing everything from handmade paper products to small-batch botanicals, with plenty of support from the community. The Pueblo Arts Alliance provides affordable studio, retail, and small-batch manufacturing space at 107 S. Grand. And the Creative Corridor focused around Pueblo’s historic city centers—Downtown Main Street, Union Avenue Historic District, and Mesa Junction—offers maker spaces in historic buildings where festivals and events such as First Fridays take place. At the Shoe Factory, Pueblo’s first member-supported, community-based art studio and gallery space, artists-in-residence provide education through local schools and organizations and invite the public to attend open studios and art walks. Steel City Art Works reps more than 40 regional artists.

“As an overall trend, not just in Pueblo but in southern Colorado and across Custer, Huerfano, Fremont, and Pueblo counties, a lot of meaningful collaboration has happened,” Madic says. 

Perhaps the region’s most ambitious project to date is Watertower Place, a 250,000-square-foot re-urbanist mixed-use development in the abandoned Alpha Beta meat-packing plant at 303 S. Santa Fe, offering residential, coworking, social gathering, and commercial space as well as fabrication, manufacturing, and makerspace entities. CSU opened a downtown satellite campus there, and plans call for three restaurants, a coffee roaster, and a brewer. Developer and Pueblo native Ryan McWilliams is aiming for an urban paradise, with a cheesemaker, a butcher, and gardens teeming with bees from local hives on the rooftop. Watertower Place hosts an annual festival, artist-residency programs, art commissions, and pop-up installations and performances.

Sculptor and Pueblo native Frank Nemick plans to move into Watertower Place by the end of the year. “I’m really looking forward to getting in there with all the different artists and studios and living arrangements and businesses,” he says. “It’s going to be a nice community.”

For Fraser, Watertower Place—where McWilliams’ team removed 1.5 million pounds of trash left by a homeless community before construction could begin—is a physical manifestation of the tremendous change taking place throughout Pueblo. “For so many years, it was sitting there as an eyesore,” she says. “Now to know it’s coming alive and great things are happening—just that physical change is fantastic.” 

Everyone’s calling the impending decade “The Roaring Twenties,” but that’s a little premature considering we’re still fixated on the ’90s.

Warning: By the time the ball drops at the end of this month and year and decade, there’s a good chance we’ll all be totally over the “Roaring Twenties Part 2” narrative being pushed on pop culture from every angle. And 2020 is still two months away as I write this. 

Do a quick search for New Year’s Eve on Eventbrite, and you’ll start to wonder if all Denver event planners are working with the same designer to make their invitations. Black, gold, art deco-inspired fonts and patterned backgrounds style every other listing, as far as you’re willing to scroll. (We’re not judging: anything is better than a cliché clip-art of clinking glasses of bubbly.) And just like it’s hard to differentiate between the graphics on the invites, the event themes are indistinguishable: “Roaring ’20s NYE Bash” at The Curtis Denver. “Roaring into the ’20s, 1920s Style!” at the Sheraton Denver West. “The Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve Ball” at Lone Tree Golf Club. “Roaring Twenties NYE Party” at Bigsby’s Folly. And on and on it goes. 

It’s like we’re all very eager to move on and leave the last decade or two in the past. (Understandable, really.) We’re entering a decade called the twenties. But the 20th-century ’20s earned itself the best moniker of any time, period, and rightfully so. The Roaring Twenties was a vibrant era of prosperity. The economy was surging, and women were voting for the first time, working more than ever before, and spending their evenings drinking, smoking, and dancing carefree. The Jazz Age was in full swing. For many, life in America was pretty grand. So, it’s understandable that people are hoping history repeats itself, and the upcoming decade is as prosperous as its namesake. 

I Feel Stupid and Contagious1

Calling the 2020s the Roaring Twenties before they even start is like trying to name a generation before the first members have been born. (Gen X is an anomaly; Gen Z is already undergoing a rebranding, with iGeneration as a frontrunner.) We can’t label something as “roaring” and just hope it lives up to its nickname. You can’t just slip on a flapper dress or don a suit fit for Gatsby, head to a Prohibition-era speakeasy, dance the Charleston, and expect to usher in an age of dramatic social and political change. As if.

Besides, we’d rather do the Carlton. Or we’ll strike a pose, there’s nothing to it. Or Tootsee Roll, whatever. (We pretend we’re too cool to Macarena, but the truth comes out on wedding reception dance floors if the DJ is fire enough.) The point is: we’re obsessed with the ’90s. 

And if you’re thinking, “Of course you are. Fashion is cyclical. Styles repeat themselves every few decades,” you’re not wrong. You just may be bad at math. (No judgment, I’m worse.) What you’re referring to is a theory in fashion and pop culture known as the “nostalgia pendulum”—a rolling 30-year cycle of pop culture trends. 

“It’s not all that complicated, but it is a pattern that has profound consequences for how art is created, how we conceptualize culture, and perhaps even what sort of political rhetoric comes into vogue,” writes Patrick Metzger of The Patterning, a website that’s all about identifying patterns in music, culture, and the universe.

“There are a number of reasons why the nostalgia pendulum shows up, but the driving factor seems to be that it takes about 30 years for a critical mass of people who were consumers of culture when they were young to become the creators of culture in their adulthood,” Metzger continues. “It can be explained equally well from the consumer side. After about 30 years, you’ve got a real market of people with disposable income who are nostalgic for their childhoods. 

This Is How We Do It2

So, really we’re just at the start of the ’90s nostalgia craze. The resurgence in popularity of Friends (younger millennials and elder Gen Zs just can’t get enough of the Central Perk gang) was just the beginning.

And so are the sartorial powers that be—a.k.a. the “it” designers who create the looks that models strut down runways during Fashion Weeks around the globe. Nineties nostalgia as a wardrobe staple started popping up in various collections as early as 2013, when designer Hedi Slimane’s second collection for Saint Laurent celebrated baby doll dresses and grunge-era–inspired cardigans. By 2015, grunge wasn’t just back for a visit; it was here to stay. And it’s ready to make a statement: tutus and combat boots are for real a good look, and you can totally pull it off. 

Where will you get a tutu? Like, basically anywhere. But you don’t need to look any farther than H&M, assuming you can get your hands on any pieces from the designer collaboration with Italian couturier Giambattista Valli. The line is divine: bold colors, feminine details, tons of tulle. Think:  Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw at her most glamorous. 

The nostalgia-fueled fashion floodgates have opened, and ’90s styles have dominated the runways in recent seasons—including SS20. Whether you gravitate toward Matrix-inspired head-to-toe black (pleather and trench coat optional) or a simple T-shirt dress paired with clunky throwback sneakers in white with bold accents or a Cher Horowitz–inspired plaid skirt ensemble straight off the set of Clueless, you’re covered.  

It’s Something Unpredictable, but in the End It’s Right3

The ’90s: The Last Great Decade, a three-night docuseries released in 2014 on The National Geographic Channel (NGC), shines a spotlight on the enduring importance of the milestone moments and events that have come to define the 10 years before the world partied as Prince told us to: like it was 1999, duh. A media alert from NGC teased the six-hour miniseries: “Sandwiched between the Cold War and the War on terror, the ’90s were a decade that gave us grunge music, reality TV, the Internet, multiple national tragedies, a tumultuous presidency, a booming economy, and Viagra.” 

That series came out five years ago—a lifetime ago when it comes to fashion and pop culture, especially in today’s constantly connected world, where we can see trends emerge, proliferate, influence, evolve, become old news (a.k.a. cliché, trite, trying too hard), and disappear all in a matter of months, weeks, maybe days. 

Today, 25 years after Friends premiered its first episode in 1994, the show is more popular than ever, reportedly earning $1 billion a year from its syndication revenue. Authentic, somehow real and lacking pretense, Friends showcases a life that people from three generations—X, millennial, and Z—have described as “ideal.” It’s not forced, it’s not obvious, it’s not claiming to be something it’s not. And nothing about it is roaring. 

We’re going to keep loving that for decades to come. 

Luxury has gone to pot.

 At the end of October, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “Cannabis Open Houses Are Putting the High in High-End Real Estate.” The trend piece by author Katherine Clarke revealed the emerging discovery being used by developers and real-estate agents to move luxe properties in communities where recreational cannabis is not just legal but widely accepted. 

It’s not unlike Los Angeles, where the rising industry is being hailed as an untapped source for buyers of high-priced homes. Throwing cannabis-related events—everything from elaborate seven-course pairing dinners with vapes in lieu of vino to live trimming classes—at multimillion-dollar properties on the market is garnering attention, building social buzz, and attracting buyers with money earned in, around, or on cannabis.

Not everyone sees the genius behind the trend, however. Clarke spoke to one agent in New York, where recreational cannabis is still a pipe dream and old tropes live on about munchie-motivated stoners. “When I think about cannabis, I don’t think about buying an expensive house,” says Warburg Realty’s Jason Haber. “It’s not a call for action as much as a call for Doritos.”

Someone should tell him friends don’t let friends make tired stoner jokes anymore. Especially ones implying cannabis consumers indulge their munchies with mindless consumption of unhealthy snacks when the reality is cannabis appeals to what The Economist dubs the “health-conscious inebriate,” citing a poll that 72 percent of American consumers thought cannabis was safer than alcohol. A 2018 The New Yorker headline declared cannabis to be a wellness industry in California where, in fact, a cannabinoid cousin of THC and CBD is starting to garner a whole lot of buzz. Instead of stimulating appetites, THCV may suppress those hunger pangs. When 2021 is declared the year of THCV, you can say you heard it here first. 

Consumption and consumerism

Cannabis has moved so far beyond the clichés of yore. Tie-dye tees, bell-bottom cords, dancing bear patches, plastic bongs, Ziploc baggies: these tired trends are so out of style, some have already circled back and left again. (Looking at you, tie-dye.) The stoner kids of yesterday are the cannabis entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and connoisseurs of today. And as they’ve aged, their tastes in cannabis aged with them, like the fine wine they can now afford. Cannabis consumers have money to burn. 

And since we live in a capitalist society (an unjust one where people remain locked up for nonviolent drug charges in states that earn taxes off now-legal cannabis sales—that’s a whole layered story for a different day), money makes things happen. And what’s happening now is the emergence of a cannabis experience elevated to a higher level.

If you were paying attention to the pop-culture cues over the decades, you would have seen the high-end highs coming. When cannabis prohibition began its slow-and-steady march to its forthcoming end, it emerged from the black market with an established following of consumers—loyal cannabis consumers with no brand loyalty, because cannabis brands didn’t exist. Dealers did, growers did, activists, advocates, and believers, too. But the concept of cannabis brands was all brand-new. 

With strict laws surrounding where the substance can be marketed, sold, advertised, distributed, and more, establishing customer loyalty in this industry is more difficult than it would seem on the surface. What differentiates one edible brand from another, one vape pen from the next is complicated to discern for those who aren’t well versed in the modern verbiage or its meaning. (Full-spectrum distillate, live resin, 2:1 ratios, oh my!)

This is where marketing and branding comes into play. And with marketing and branding comes the emergence of new market segments, including the ultra-luxury category. It is from within that category that future trends are likely to emerge. That’s how trends play out, as Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep) explained to her new assistant in one iconic scene of The Devil Wears Prada. (If you haven’t seen it in a while, a quick refresher: “The color of the shirt you are wearing right now was determined years ago by high-end designers preparing their collections for fashion week runways.”) 

Trickle-down trends are a hierarchical process whereby individuals with high status establish fashion trends, only to be imitated by lower-status individuals wearing cheaper versions of the same styles.

“It’s always been a thing,” says Karyn Wagner, CEO of Paradigm Cannabis Group, a women-owned extraction company specializing in pre-rolls and extracts made from small-batch sun-grown flower. “There’s always been those products that are better than others. But now, with adult use, we have to be more brand-conscious. With that, how do you distinguish yourself from someone else? Why is this better? What makes it better?”

Some like it haute

With any luxury good, consumers want the assurance of quality and efficacy, Wagner says. But you can never underestimate the prestige that comes with a high price tag. “The moneyed class always loves expensive items,” she says. “This normalizes it in their world. It brings in folks who didn’t normally have the desire. It made it OK in their class. Expensive breeds expensive things. You wouldn’t have expensive cannabis if you didn’t have people who wanted to buy expensive cannabis.”

Jenny Le Coq, president of Le Coq & Associates, a marketing and communications firm in San Francisco that represents Kikoko cannabis-infused botanical mints, points out that most people typically don’t seek out a cheap bottle of wine, but look for something fine, trustworthy, and familiar. They want to know the winery, its reputation, who recommends the vintage. “People are looking at wines today with a more discerning eye—how their grapes are grown, for example,” Le Coq says. “People are looking at cannabis in the same way: with a discerning eye.” 

“Discerning” can add up to big money, for sure. Anecdotal stories abound in national media outlets, suggesting couples in Colorado will drop several bills on “cannagars” and other high-end party favors to celebrate weddings and anniversaries. At The High End, Barneys New York’s luxury cannabis lifestyle shop in Beverly Hills, shoppers can splurge on a $1,475 sterling silver bud grinder or a $950 water pipe. New York fashion brand Alice + Olivia partnered with luxury cannabis brand Kush Queen to debut a CBD wellness line earlier this year—bath bomb, body lotion, bubble bath with lavender. Alice + Olivia packaging features CEO Stacey Bendet’s signature “StaceFace” motif, with big sunglasses and a bold red lip. A timeless statement-making style that trendsetters of every era make their own while trendy types try to emulate the overall aesthetic. That’s just the way things work.

To be fair, luxury doesn’t have to mean $$$$. What it must indicate, however, is quality. “Luxury is an assigned label. It is typically assigned by marketers,” Le Coq says. “So, what do you want cannabis to be? As a consumer, how do you perceive luxury? The concept is really defined differently by every person. We want people to experience something that is luxurious. Not only the packaging is beautiful, the taste is beautiful, the place you are put into mentally is a nice, beautiful place.” 

They say they’re not alcoholics, and they’re certainly not anonymous. What is sober curious—and can sobriety really be fluid?

I drink badly, and I have a lot of fun doing it (when I remember). That’s a lethal combination, and when you throw in my unfortunate discovery of White Claw—I can drink as many as I want and never feel full!—I flamed out with alcohol last winter. 

On February 1, just as everyone else was celebrating the end of Dry January and just ahead of the Summer of the Claw, I swore off the seltzer. I figured I’d give myself one month (note: the year’s shortest) to reset. It wasn’t an easy 28 days, but when March 1 rolled around, I felt better than I’d felt in years. The chronic inflammation I had attributed to everything from gluten sensitivity to genetics was clearing. I saw the light, and there was no going back. 

I thought sobriety would be lonely, that every Saturday night would be Netflix. I forgot the Brett Kavanaugh generation isn’t in charge of culture anymore (thank God). 

Millennials and Gen Xers aren’t interested in swilling beer until they black out like we did in the ’80s. Sober is sexy—or, as hipsobriety.com sees it, “sobriety is the new black.” 

On Instagram, there are influencers such as @stylishlysober, @thesoberglow, and the darker @fucking_sober and hashtags like
#soberliving, #soberAF, and #sobercurious. Millie Gooch, who posts as @sobergirlsociety, encourages her nearly 60,000 followers with inspirational messages like “Mocks not cocks” and “Sobriety: a surefire way to improve your wellbeing and your Uber rating.” 

Just like that, I’m a cool kid—with a huge range of new options on Saturday night (and beyond). I’m exploring elixirs made with raw cacao, maca, and horny goat weed at Tonic Herban Lounge just a few blocks from my home in downtown Boulder (I can walk home after imbibing, and it amuses me that I don’t need to). I can do yoga and shake it before dawn at a Daybreaker dance party (daybreaker.com) in Denver, one of 27 cities where the alcohol-free early morning rave pops up and invites people to “sweat, dance, and connect with ourselves in community.”    

I’m surely not alone in this realization that life is better without booze. Worldwide, alcohol consumption fell by 1.6 percent last year. Led by young people, heavy-hitting countries like Russia, Canada, Japan, and the UK are seeing drinking rates as well as tolerance toward intoxication decline. An international survey found that about a third of people wanted to reduce their alcohol intake because of everything from sexual regret and embarrassment to physical health. A 2018 survey found that nearly 40 percent of global consumers want to drink less for health reasons.

In the US, CNBC reports, 52 percent of adults are trying to lower their alcohol intake, and underage drinking has steadily declined in the last 10 years. But only 21 percent of US adults in a CivicScience poll said they had any interest in drinking less or not at all, and most of those were 21- to 34-year-old, vegan-leaning flexitarians who practice yoga and consume cannabis daily. Women, especially those in their 30s and 40s, are drinking more than ever.

Booze still rules for most Americans, and “increased stress and demoralization” is actually pushing more women, minorities, and poor people to the bottle, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. The national Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 17 million adults in the US are alcohol dependent, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in six binge drink—defined as drinking four or more drinks over two hours or until blood alcohol reaches 0.08—nearly once a week. For this White Claw guzzler, that definition is, well, sobering. I called that happy hour.

Giving up alcohol isn’t a hashtag for a lot of people. It’s not even a choice. As Sean Paul Mahoney writes on The Fix, a website about addiction and recovery, “I didn’t get sober to be cool. I just got sober to stop dying.”

A Little Bit Addicted?

“Sober curious” became a thing after HarperCollins released Ruby Warrington’s Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol in 2018. Warrington also has a podcast, runs Club SÖda NYC (featuring sober events like Kundalini Disco), and stages events (“Sober Curious: Choosing Sobriety for Focus, Presence, and Deep Connection” is February 14–16, 2020, at Massachusetts’ renowned wellness retreat center Kripalu). Her take is that a lot of Americans might not have a “problem” with alcohol but see it as getting in the way of their healthy lifestyles. “We eat well. We exercise. We meditate,” the press release for Sober Curious states. “So, why do we…still drink?”

Warrington wants to know why the only people who don’t drink are the ones who can’t and asks, “What if I am just…a little bit addicted?” 

Call me old school, but a little bit addicted sounds a lot like a little bit pregnant. I worry that people who shouldn’t will take the advice of John Costa, who writes on twentytwowords.com that being sober curious is like being bi-curious—you don’t always hook up with people of the same sex, and you don’t have to cut out drinking forever. “Be sober half the time,” he writes, “and sauced the other half.” He’s joking, but those are dangerous words for me. That’s the life I was living: sober by day + tanked by night = balance.

Like all disorders (and pretty much everything in our culture), alcohol use runs on a spectrum. I was at the end that spent hours upon hours researching whether drinking while on this antibiotic would really make me projectile vomit and scoffed at friends as they struggled through Dry January, Dry July, Sober September, and Sober October. I wasn’t interested in giving up drinking for any reason or any amount of time, until I had to give it up for life.

Warrington, who sees reducing alcohol intake as another step in the wellness revolution, is at the other end of the spectrum—and she is aware of the difference between recovering from alcohol addiction and feeling better during yoga. I hope all of her followers are, too, because the last thing most drinkers need is a loophole.  

I want to believe the trend Warrington is leading toward spirits-free activities and thoughtfulness about alcohol’s role in our culture—where every ritual, celebration, loss, entertainment, and even sporting event is cause for a drink—is not a trend but a movement. That we’ll look back at “mommyjuice” like we shake our heads at “mother’s little helper” pills from the ’60s and ’70s. The infrastructure to support sobriety is being built, and public opinion is turning. After centuries of going hard, America is getting woke, not wasted.

Cheers to that. 

Lack of sleep drove one woman to the edge of sanity. Until she found out she was not alone. This is how you can claim back your well-deserved rest.v

My eyes flicker open, and a moment later I feel a tiny tingle in my toes. Excitement. Waking after a good, restful sleep is a simple joy. I bounce out of bed, looking forward to the day. Then suddenly, I’m standing, motionless, gazing out the window in wonder. I’m looking forward to my day! I’m looking forward to my day? Detroit, What up Doe? 

I refuse to be contained. I gyrate my hips, Bluetooth speaker on Rihanna’s “work, work, work, work, work” and arms in sync, dancing around my bedroom, wondering whether my 10-year-old will walk in. I don’t care. This is what a woman looks like who finally had a good night’s sleep. But how?

Don’t sleep on sleep

Sleep is something some people take for granted. Like oxygen. Or blood running through our veins. Or the sunrise. But it’s not that way for everyone. When people tell me they’re tired, I resist the temptation to give them my life story. Or, at least, my night-time story of the past decade.

It began when I was expecting Nya, my one and only child. “At-risk pregnancy,” my primary doctor told me repeatedly, “is common with a woman your age and your size.” The discomfort of added stress on expecting with no job, no home, and no baby’s father added pressure. 

I experienced anxiety, depression, and a feeling of unworthiness every day of my pregnancy. But at night, I would easily drop off to sleep, exhausted from my thoughts. But then suddenly and completely, I’d wake up assuming it was morning. It wasn’t. It was 12:30 a.m. 

I wasn’t uncomfortable. Didn’t need to pee. I was simply wide-awake and alert, my brain playing vivid images of my life in front of me as a mother. I had to produce more, be more, have more money, make life better for her. Ping! 3 a.m. 5:30 a.m. 6 a.m.

It was a pattern that continued after Nya was born—and for 10 more years. Only now I was getting up through the night to investigate, watch, clean, and fuss over her; it was all part of the sleeplessness cocktail. There was no going back to sleep for several hours or, more often, the rest of the night. It was a vicious maddening cycle.

“With wellness, we always look at it from a dual point of view, nutrition and activity, but that’s wrong,” says Safwan Badr, MD, endowed professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. “We need to look at wellness as a three-legged stool of nutrition, activity, and sleep.” 

Spending his days seeing patients, teaching, researching, and serving the community, Badr has much love for Detroit. In 2013, Badr was appointed the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Back then he understood the importance of sleep, so he focused his work on the future of sleep medicine.

“Poor sleep contributes to obesity, heart disease, airway disease, and depression and is a leading cause of car accidents and subsequent deaths,” he says. “We must start to prioritize sleep. Turn off the streaming videos, turn off the cell phone notifications, and sleep.” 

Statistics haven’t been collected specifically on sleep deprivation in Detroit, but medical scientists believe that if you find obesity, it’s likely that insufficient sleep will follow, according to Badr.

Michigan has higher rates of obesity and more inactive adults than the national average. It also has higher poverty rates, which have long been tied to poor health, according to a 2018 study by the United Health Foundation. 

“Most of the patients I see say they’re too busy to sleep,” says Badr. “The fact is that the clinical work that’s being done is suggesting that with high rates of obesity, it’s likely that sleep problems will occur. Chronic disease in Detroit is one of the nation’s highest so there are a lot of patients getting an insufficient amount of sleep.”

That’s me. It was all starting to make sense. The heavier I was, the less sleep I was getting. The more active my work and personal life, the more my mind raced, preventing me from sound sleep. The more accessible I was to my family, friends, and social circles, the more I was preventing myself from getting sleep.

First things first. Prioritize sleep. 

“Women over 50 have a more difficult time getting their rest, which makes it even more important to prioritize sleep. Good sleep helps improve concentration, memory, immunity—all things that become more important with age,” says Erin Berman, brand strategist at Resident Mattress. “When women are within the years of menopause, they might be experiencing shifts in their normal sleeping habits due to physiological changes. However, as people reach middle age, aches and pains can make sleeping difficult, so creating the best sleep environment possible can make a big impact.”

For me it started with the right mattress. “You want to look for a mattress that will support you. Not all mattresses are created equal,” says Berman. “The beauty of a hybrid mattress is that it combines the best latex and traditional coils. The coils help evenly distribute weight and reduce motion transfer for undisturbed rest, while the latex gives just a touch of bounce.” 

Once I was equipped with my hybrid mattress, I set out for a good night’s sleep, which meant that, gasp, I had to shut down my devices. All of them, even the notification cameras that alert me when there’s motion at my front and back doors. It was easy to cut off my phone but hard to shut off the lights that glowed in my smart house. Yet I prioritized this thing that eluded me night after night. I took a hot soapy bath and then wrapped myself in a soft comforter in a nest of warm pillows. 

I lay down to sleep. Not to save the world. Not to win another award. Not to start another business. But to sleep with as much passion and vigor as I could muster. 

And to my surprise, sleep came. 

The Pet Wellness Industry Is Taking Off in Colorado.

I’m sitting at my desk in the early hours of the morning struggling to write the anecdotal opener to this story. There’s soft music playing, so soft I can hear Gidget’s content snores coming from the pineapple dome she sleeps in when I’m at my desk.

If the music were too loud, she would stomp as much as a chihuahua could out to the living room to get in her pressure-activated heated bed, engulfed by the soft white throw blanket I got for me to use. Gidget saw it, she liked it, she wanted it, she got it.

This is the way it works. The nails on my fingertips are past due for a manicure (Gidget got hers done today). My dinner was peanut butter spooned from the jar. Gidget dined on a gourmet blend specially formulated to deliver the exact level of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, probiotics, and minerals she needs for optimal health. After dinner, she got a bath and a towel massage before tucking into the pineapple. That’s when I sat down to start writing. I work hard so my dog can have a better life. The meme is real.

Hoomans and Floofers

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Gidget may be a furry freeloader, but she’s my furry freeloader and I love her hard. Because she is awesome. All dogs are. Fight me: I’m an elder millennial, and I’ve got a generational army of pet-pampering 20- and 30-somethings to back me up.

Millennials have been accused of killing a whole host of things*. Really, we’re just redirecting our limited discretionary funds to things we deem more worthy than, say, an intrinsically worthless shiny stone that De Beers’ marketing firm convinced Americans is a token of love and esteem that lasts forever. (Read: millennials are killing diamonds.)

Millennials do spend money on pets. This year, the US pet industry is projected to rake in $75.28 billion, up more than 30 percent since 2010 according to the American Pet Product Association (APPA). A majority of millennials (76 percent) would be more likely to splurge on luxury items like expensive treats or a custom bed for their pets than for themselves.

“The pet care industry is booming, as people around the world—especially millennials—blur the line between human child and animal,” according to Business Insider. The senior brand manager of Purina, Ryan Gass, suggests that millennials are putting off marriage and having children, turning to pets to “fill that void” but I don’t know what void he’s talking about, so we’re moving on.

Millennials’ love for their pups is so intense, it’s spawned its own language. Us hoomans chase our heckin floofers, iPhones in hand, snapping pics of their snoots and bleps to share with frens, posting with captions about the goodest boy in the world.

This has all led to a rise in what more serious folks call the “humanization of pets.” Sounds ominous. But it indicates how much our lives and our our pets’ lives are intertwined—and therefore following the same trends. And what’s trendier or more millennial than wellness, wellness everywhere?

In 1979, veteran journalist Dan Rather quipped during an episode of 60 Minutes, “Wellness…that’s a word you don’t hear every day.” Fast forward 40 years, and we’re hearing the word so much every day it’s almost lost all meaning. The fresh “pet wellness” phrase could mean pets are doing well overall or it could mean pets are judging you for not drinking kombucha.

Don’t worry, dogs don’t judge. But they are getting more probiotics in their diets, just not from kombucha. Probiotics in pet foods sales grew by 139 percent last year, according to the Nielsen market report, “Trends in Pet Care Mirror Those of Pet Owners.” We eat super foods, our dogs eat super foods; we take CBD, our pups take CBD. We get massages, our dogs get massages. We have fitness studios where you can work out with your dog, acupuncture for pets, doggy day spas with swimming pools you can rent out for puppy parties.

Laying on Hands

Oh, yeah, and dog Reiki is a thing here, too. Gidget hasn’t tried it yet; she—like me—thinks it sounds a little bit woo-woo.

This is how Health mag describes the basic principle: “Energy medicine (or biofield therapies) is the act of channeling and manipulating the energy that courses through your body in order to heal it. This can be done with hands-on practices such as acupuncture and Reiki, as well as sensory-based experiences, like the use of crystals, sound baths, and aromatherapy.”
In Denver, Zen Pet is all about these modalities. Run by Dr. Becca Klobuchar, the mobile holistic veterinary medicine’s range of services is rooted in energy balancing and Chinese medicine.

“I began exploring holistic therapies in an effort to provide pets with additional healing options when traditional treatments were unsuccessful,” says Klobuchar. “The intuitive treatment modalities I use approach pets’ health from the physical, energetic, and spiritual perspectives.”

The energy balancing service is based on the concept that all living things have their own energy field that, when not in balance, can lead to disease, emotional stress, and pain. During a session, the ancient practice of “laying on of hands” to transmits healing energy of the universe through the practitioner to the animal for healing effects.

While energy medicine is the farthest mystical extreme of the modern wellness world, there are some forms backed by science. Acupuncture, for one, and even Reiki. Health reports that a 2010 review of research in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found strong evidence that biofield therapies such as Reiki and therapeutic touch can alleviate pain.

The caveat: It could be placebo effect, and our pups aren’t swayed by the power of suggestion. But if you think it’s working for her, then the session is working—for you. It’s called the “caregiver placebo effect,” and there’s nothing wrong with it. As long as it’s used in conjunction with traditional vet visits—a supplemental part of a whole wellness plan.

Chiro for Canines

Dog chiropractic is an another emerging field gaining traction as a beneficial supplemental treatment therapy. At Denver Central Chiropractic (DCC) in Centennial, Dr. Erin Moran is providing holistic health care to both people and pets—“holistic health care for you and your dogs.” While it’s still an emerging field, animal chiropractic at its core follows the same principles and practices as the human kind. She suggests you consider chiropractic treatments if your pooch is showing signs of pain: reluctant to climb stairs, difficulty getting up after laying down, constantly licking or chewing paws, walking differently.

“Dogs get the same back issues as people, and chiropractic is a great option to address those issues without the use of drugs or surgery,” says Moran. “People get great results from seeing a chiropractor, and I want people to know that their dog can experience the same benefits.”

It’s a non-surgical, drug-free option for correcting disorders related to a fixation in the spine or joint. When vertebrae become immovable through trauma, injury, or standard wear-and-tear, the joints between them become jammed, often affecting the nerves in the congested area. Those nerves are the communication link between the brain and the spinal cord, so when they are out of order, it can set off a cascade of effects that lead to pain and loss of function.

But pets can’t tell us where they hurt or why they’re limping, so treatments are a bit more complicated. When working with animals, Moran looks for abnormal or restricted movement, with a goal of restoring it to reduce pain and improve mobility.

“The results I’ve seen have been amazing,” she says. Moran has helped dogs who have lost the use of their back legs because of slipped discs; after adjustments, they’re able to regain use of their legs and walk again. She also treats arthritic dogs, “getting the pep back in their step so they can have a better quality of life.”

Healthy pets can experience benefits of spine checkups, too, she points out—especially active and athletic ones. The DCC website is clear that the practice is not meant to replace veterinary medicine. Rather, animal chiropractors work in conjunction with veterinarians, treating areas that often go unnoticed by traditional care.

And that pain in your back as result of hunching over your desk spoon-feeding yourself peanut butter while your pooch snuggles in your new comforter? As it turns out, living with a dog is good for human health as well. Having a pet lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, and may even help you live longer. So says science. So they deserve to live the same aspirational lifestyle to which we have made them accustomed. It’s the least we can do to repay the unconditional love.

Style your autumn vibes with views, brews, activism, and Neil Young tunes.

  • This fall is living up to the promise of the state’s welcome sign. Read
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse recorded Colorado, their first album in seven years, over 11 days and nights in a studio near Telluride. Read
  • Summer’s over, but Colorado hard seltzers are here to stay. Read
  • Party with a purpose at Moulin Rouge in Broomfeild. Read

Colorful Colorado

This fall is living up to the promise of the state’s welcome sign.

The epic winter of 2019 just keeps on giving. All that snow melted into a wet spring, and then steady summer rains added to the abundant moisture—all adding up to make one of the most brilliant fall spectacles Colorado has seen in years. The leaf-viewing is great along all the Front Range’s classic looky-loo drives, but here’s a handful of our fall favorites. To find more, visit codot.gov/travel/scenic-byways.

Trail Ridge Road (US 34)

Winding well above tree line through Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park to Grand Lake, the highest continuous paved road in North America climbs above 11,000 feet for 8 miles and peaks at 12,183 feet. The road closes for the season on October 14 and temporarily for snow.

Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway

This old wagon route for miners rambles along County Road 381 from historic Georgetown to Grant passing 14,060-foot Mount Bierstadt along the way. The newly paved road along the South Platte River is peppered with pockets of quaking golden aspen. The road closes for the season in November and temporarily for snow.

Cache la Poudre Scenic Byway (CO 14)

The drive through the rugged Cache la Poudre River Canyon takes you through Roosevelt National Forest and over Cameron Pass, with shimmering views of the Medicine Bow, Never Summer, and Rabbit Ears ranges.

Peak-to-Peak Highway

Acre upon acre of brilliant yellow aspens make this three-hour drive from Estes Park down through Clear Creek Canyon—Colorado’s oldest scenic byway—a favorite for locals and tourists alike. You’re sure to see elk.–Robyn Griggs Lawrence


Old Guys, Young Souls

Neil Young and Crazy Horse recorded Colorado, their first album in seven years, over 11 days and nights in a studio near Telluride.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse haven’t rocked Red Rocks since 2012, but fans needn’t worry—the legendary singer/songwriter and his roots band haven’t burned out or faded away. Young and Crazy Horse (bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina, and guitarist Nils Lofgren, replacing Frank “Poncho” Sampedro) were back together again last April to record Colorado, their first LP since 2012’s Psychedelic Pill, during an intense session near Telluride. An advance track, “Milky Way,” is already streaming.

“It’s old guys,” Young wrote on his blog at on NeilYoungArchives.com. “Old guys still alive in young souls and the music they make together.” He also called Colorado “one of the most diverse albums I have ever made.”

Young and the band hauled their 1970s analog equipment up to Studio in the Clouds, a mesa-top facility in the San Juans, and played for 11 days and nights straight to record the 11-track album. Mountaintop Sessions, a documentary about making Colorado, will be released alongside the album. “You will see the whole process just as it went down!” Young wrote “Warts and all! I don’t think a film about this subject with the openness and intensity we have captured has ever been seen.”

Colorado is available in high-resolution audio through NeilYoungArchives.com. (Young’s just-released book, To Feel the Music: A Songwriters Mission to Save High-Quality Audio, chronicles his passion for bringing back the old-school sound.) A vinyl double album with a bonus 7-inch single with two additional tracks is available for $45; CDs are $19.

Young and Crazy Horse won’t be touring for the rest of 2019, but fans should consider a Red Rocks show in 2020 a very real possibility.


Get Declawed

Summer’s over, but Colorado hard seltzers are here to stay.

Photo: Jonathan Castner

You wouldn’t drink a Bud Light if a Fat Tire were available, and you’ll always choose Boulder-brewed Rowdy Mermaid over market leader GT’s kombucha. But if you’re like most of the country, you’ve been settling for the Hacky Sack of hard seltzers (completely ironically, we know) when local alcohol waters have been right there all along. Savvy beer and spirits brewers in Colorado saw the Summer of the Claw coming—and though they haven’t been able to touch White Claw’s meme power or market share, they’ve created some pretty tasty seltzers.

This summer, the owners of Grand Lake Brewing Tavern started brewing seltzer instead of beer and turned their 17-year-old tavern in Olde Town Arvada into what they claim is the country’s first seltzer taproom, Elvtd at 5280, where you can taste flavors like blueberry, cucumber, acai, and tangelo. Taprooms across the state such as Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project in Loveland and Soul Squared Brewing in Fort Collins are featuring hard seltzer taps with rotating flavors.

Other local favorites include:

Upslope Spiked Snow Melt: juniper and lime, pomegranate and acai, tangerine and hops
Oskar Blues Wild Basin: classic lime, cucumber peach, melon basil, lemon agave hibiscus
Denver Beer O&A: black cherry, lime
Epic Brewing Pakka: lemon-lime, black cherry
Odell Zest: lemon-lime, Eddy Mule (ginger and lime)


Moulin Rouge in Broomfield

Party with a purpose.

Sponsored by a power trio of female-led cannabis businesses, A Night at the Cabaret will be an evening of magic and wonderment carefully paired with cannabis to benefit Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains on Thursday, October 17, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Chateaux at Fox Meadows in Broomfield. The interactive event for more than 350 of the industry’s leaders and influencers, sponsored by Mason Jar Event Group, Irie Weddings & Events, and Cannabis Doing Good, will feature fire dancers, magicians, treats from culinary and cocktail artists, and cannabis goodies.

“Planned Parenthood is an organization that has suffered from lack of funding, especially now in our current political landscape,” says Mason Jar founder Kendal Norris. “This event gives the cannabis industry the opportunity to come to the aid of an organization that is about community, wellness, and reproductive health. Who can’t get behind that?”

During the event, the first-ever Cannabis Doing Good Awards will be handed out to business leaders who go above and beyond to champion community outreach, sustainability, and equity. We can get behind that.

To learn more or purchase tickets, email cdggala@gmail.com.


Be Aware

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The world is awash in pink ribbons right now—tiny reminders to book a mammogram everywhere you look. Book one. Now.
October 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. It’s also my mom’s birthday. She would have been 72 this year, but…metastatic breast cancer has no cure. It’s fatal, 100 percent of the time. If you’re donating, marching, or buying pink-tinged products this month, do a little research to ensure your efforts go to organizations funding research for a cure, not just paying for awareness/ad campaigns. Or just donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (bsrf.org), knowing your contributions will be well spent.

The people, history, and creative spirit of the Czech Republic.

As a little girl, I was told that anyone who referred to themselves as a Bohemian simply meant they were free spirits. Imagining long, cotton skirts that moved in the air as you twirled, massive oversized hoop earrings, a certain je ne sais quoi—that is what I had in mind when I went to visit Bohemia decades into my adulthood.

The moment I landed in the Czech Republic, it instantly seduced me with its natural beauty and expressive passion. Bohemia is a region of romanticism. It’s the place where artists took traditional art forms and made them modern. It’s where writers who, for fear of persecution, wrote in silence or underground, in the labyrinth of an ancient city that still exists below the streets.

History + Design

Of all the cities in Bohemia, Prague is the place that drew creatives in droves. Great writers such as Franz Kafka were inspired here to expose the humor in the human condition. (The place where he did much of his work is now a Sofitel Hotel.) It’s where Milan Kundera’s fictional lovers ravaged each other and toyed with ideas of sexuality generations before it was socially acceptable.

Prague’s history of wartime activity is worth exploring as well. It’s where the assassination of General der Polizei Reinhard Heydrich took place during WWII—one of the only successful assassinations of a high-ranking Nazi officer. Prague was also one of the few European cities left relatively intact during the war, so traversing through the old town is like being transported to yesteryear. Let’s face it: Prague is pretty badass.

The city is an architecture enthusiast’s dream. Brightly colored Art Deco facades adorn the cobblestone streets. You’ll likely come across an array of styles from gothic and rococo to functionalism and the Moorish revival. There are remnants of the Communist era evident in city canals and streets.

Among the city’s celebrated modern structures, the work of world-renowned architects still stands out: the über-modern Dancing House by Frank Gehry and Jože Plečnik’s Church of the Most Sacred Heart. Nearby, you’ll see houses with stained glass, statues and ornate ironwork adorning front doors, and corner windows, making you feel like you’ve stepped into an Alphonse Mucha poster.

For a different kind of historic adventure, take a tour of the city’s underground tunnels dating back to the 13th century. To book an underground tour, visit prague-underground-tours.com.

Above ground, walkways run parallel to the Vltava River, which runs alongside Bohemian Forest and is about a third of the Czech Republic territory. Cafes, parks, and sculptures line the route. When you’re in the mood for divine cake and coffee, grab a seat on the outside patio at Bella Vida Café.

Hotel Schwaiger — Prague, Czech Republic

The Swagger of Schwaiger

Originally built in 1849, the Hotel Schwaiger served for years as a family residence under the name Villa Klára. Registered as a Czech Republic cultural heritage site since 1921 under the name Villa Schwaiger, the hotel underwent a full transformation and in August of 2017 opened its doors as Hotel Schwaiger, an exclusive four-star boutique hotel. Reminiscent of the 1920s, clean lines and solid colors accentuate the picturesque refinement of modern affluence. Alongside its sister property, Pod Vezi, the Hotel Schwaiger offers a modern interpretation of the spirit of Prague that fostered some of the world’s most creative artists, academics, and artisans. Prague is sexy. And so is the Hotel Schwaiger. hotelschwaiger.cz

The Czech Republic is home to an abundance of dining experiences, and while it may not hold the most Michelin stars, its food speaks to the culture. At V Zahradě at the Hotel Schwaiger, the chef, Radek Ryška, shows his knowledge of Czech cuisine by taking traditional dishes and infusing them with modern flavors and textures that take you through a culinary wonderland. Coupled with freshly baked breads, every locally sourced dish can appease even the most selective palates.

With exciting creations such as cream of goat cheese served with pumpkin and pistachio or smoked trout with marinated cucumber and ash bread, Ryška has created more than just a meal. Soft jazz, fresh bouquets, and handmade colored glasses adorning each table make for one unforgettable introduction to modern Czech cuisine.

Nothing at the Hotel Schwaiger is typical. According to the hotel’s manager, Martin Čelko, the hotel keeps the best of the old and twists it with the new, all while preserving the artistic spirit known to the region. “We wanted the hotel to be eco-friendly and economical to the customer while offering high-quality products.” Čelko says. “A decade of research helped our team circumvent common problems guests have and fine-tune our mission for the hotel.”

If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of visiting Prague, I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s a city of unsung heroes, impeccable beauty, artistic inspiration, and unparalleled hospitality. If you’re searching for that Bohemian je ne sais quoi, you’ll feel its essence the moment you arrive. That feeling is the epitome of luxury.

How the 0.3-percent THC figure is fraying the American hemp industry.

Hemp is now legal on a federal level, but law enforcement struggles to distinguish it from cannabis. The 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp with less than 0.3 percent THC, was hailed by the US hemp industry as cause for intense celebration. An agricultural staple once produced in abundance before World War II, hemp was, finally, again to be treated like any other plant.

The 2018 Farm Bill was lauded as the first step toward giving farmers the chance to make the US a hemp nation once more. “Congress clearly wanted to encourage a hemp industry. It couldn’t be more obvious,” says Frank Robison, a Denver lawyer who works with hemp companies on legal issues. “The hemp bill is clearly pro-farmer and pro-cultivation. Let’s grow it, process it, create a thriving market, and in my opinion also turn it into international commerce,” he says. “The language is clear that it wanted to create a market.”

Some unexpected problems are threatening to undermine this growth. And it all boils down to this: What is hemp, what is cannabis, and how is that determined? Since the 2018 Farm Bill’s implementation, neither the Federal Drug Administration nor the Department of Agriculture have produced national rules and regulations for hemp. And because most hemp is now being transported by trucks and trailers passing between states, each with different rules and knowledge about the legality of hemp, it’s causing any number of hassles.

In January, a trailer carrying 7,000 pounds of hemp was seized and the driver arrested by the Idaho State Police. A truckful of hemp was apprehended in South Dakota and the driver charged with cannabis possession in August. A company whose shipment of hemp was seized by Oklahoma police, who claimed it was marijuana, are suing the police, the county, and an attorney to get their product back.

Police and district attorneys in several states are complaining they don’t have the equipment or knowledge to make the distinction, either. In Florida, the State Attorney’s Office has ruled that the sight or smell of marijuana can no longer be used as probable cause for search because they both smell skanky. Charges against University of Nebraska football players for possession were dropped because the state couldn’t prove whether what they had was cannabis or hemp. In Texas, the Austin district attorney said her office would stop prosecuting possession cases involving four ounces or less unless there was a lab test, and Houston’s DA dismissed 32 felony marijuana cases, estimating that it would cost $185,000 and take up to a year to implement the testing procedure and hire people to run it.

In a sign of the significance of the problem, the US Drug Enforcement Administration put out a request for information on private companies that might have the technology for field tests sensitive enough to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. The USDA’s William Richmond said in August that the agency is grappling with the Farm Bill‘s requirement for a national THC testing protocol. “We need to have testing procedures in place,” he said, but coming up with reliable testing methods is “as complicated as you think it is.”

Is It Really That Tough?

Not everybody feels it’s that difficult. Cannabis, or marijuana, and hemp are the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. Though similar in appearance and odor, they are distinctly different in composition and the chemicals they produce. The national standard written into the 2018 Farm Bill for determining whether a crop is hemp or cannabis is that hemp must contain no more than 0.3 percent of the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry-weight basis.

“And that’s just a very random, arbitrary number,” says Cindy Orser, chief scientific officer at Digipath, an independent cannabis testing lab in Las Vegas. “And you know, it’s just not right to define a plant species based on a chemical that can fluctuate based on its growing environment and by its genetics.”

Hemp has been grown forever for its fiber and seed for use in a wide variety of products. “When people say hemp, they usually mean industrial hemp, which is also called European hemp,” she explains. “It’s been bred for centuries for its fiber content, and it has very low cannabinoid content.”
Orser notes that there is also another hemp, what she calls American hemp, or resin hemp, which is grown for its higher CBD content. “It’s not being grown for fiber, it’s not being grown for its flower,” she says. “It’s being grown for oil, from either seeds or clones that have a good chance of coming in above that 0.3 percent delta-9 THC percent limit at maturity.”

Three-tenths of One Percent

In 1937, hemp and cannabis were both essentially demonized and taxed out of existence. There is reason to believe that other industries—cotton, building—were behind the hemp ban, but at least one was because of law-enforcement difficulties distinguishing between hemp and cannabis. With both illegal, there was no need to differentiate between the two, and no attempt was made. The number 0.3 percent delta-9 THC (3/10 of 1 percent) on a dry weight basis comes from a 1976 study of cannabis taxonomy and was never intended as a legal distinction, Orser says.

While there are several different forms of THC, only one, delta-9 THC, gets you “high.” The 0.3 percent legal limit only applies to delta-9 THC. By law, this is the sole cannabinoid that is considered when determining whether a cannabis plant is lawful hemp or unlawful marijuana.

The issue is that gas chromatography (GC), a primary testing method used by both law enforcement agencies and state departments of agriculture, heats up a cannabis sample in order to tease out and measure delta-9 THC levels. THCa, another of more than 100 chemicals produced by the plant which is not mentioned in the statute, converts to delta-9 THC when heated. “In other words, the GC testing method actually creates the very same cannabinoid that is being tested,” says Asheville, NC, cannabis attorney Rod Kight.

Here’s what Project CBD says about the number. “The 0.3 percent THC legal limit is an arbitrary, impractical, euphoria-phobic relic of reefer madness. Although it lacks a scientific basis, it has become the latest lynchpin of cannabis prohibition, a dishonest, anachronistic policy that impedes medical discovery and blocks patient access to valuable therapeutic options, including herbal extracts with various combinations of CBD and THC.”

A Possible Solution

Farmers are uncertain, too, and for good reason. If any portion of a hemp crop comes up at 0.4 percent delta-9 THC or higher at harvest time, that entire crop would have to be destroyed. Orser is trying to empirically determine a representative value for THC that would enable farmers and not confuse law enforcement. She has done testing on American hemp and has found that more than half of the plant samples of CBD resin hemp, turn up “hot,” or above the 0.3 percent number. Digipath is currently beta-testing a molecular or DNA-based assay that distinguishes industrial hemp from resin hemp and drug-type cannabis within two hours.

Growing hemp for CBD is difficult enough, Kight says, and limiting the strains a farmer can use places an undue and unnecessary burden. “Aside from legal considerations, the reason that this issue is important is because widespread adoption of the total THC position would be harmful to the hemp industry—in particular hemp farmers,” Kight says. “Requiring total THC concentrations to remain within 0.3 percent, rather than just limiting delta-9 THC, severely limits the hemp strains a farmer can grow.”

Although the gas chromotography test is the most widely used, Kight and others argue that another test—high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)—does not use heat to separate and measure delta-9 THC concentrations, which means it’s testing the actual amount of delta-9 THC in any sample.

The HPLC test doesn’t create higher concentrations of the same molecule that determines whether a plant is lawful or an illegal controlled substance. Because GC testing creates delta-9 THC, Kight says that using it to test hemp is contrary to law and can even amount to evidence tampering in the context of a criminal case.

One final thing to remember here is that we are talking about minuscule amounts of delta-9 THC. There are no concerns that a hemp crop that comes in at 0.4 percent, or 0.7 percent, or even 1.0 percent delta-9 THC, is going to be sold or used instead as recreational or medical cannabis. Most legally available cannabis begins at around 15 percent delta-9 THC and goes up from there. Nobody will ever get high using any hemp product, even if it comes in over the limit. And it’s the farmers, the ones who find out whether their crop is legal or not after it has grown to maturity, who are paying the price for such a fickle number.

“Farmers work on razor-thin margins. We should be giving them the most latitude possible and have this uniform from state to state,” says Robison

“We’re talking about such minuscule amounts. On or off the record, who cares? It doesn’t make any sense. Why not give farmers the chance?”

Zoe Helene is working to create balance and diversity through sacred plants.

Twelve years and many journeys ago, during an ayahuasca ceremony in the Peruvian Amazon, Zoe Helene was challenged by a powerful, ancient goddess archetype to step up and do something with the privilege of having grown up in a place where she felt safe, with parents who encouraged her to follow her natural creative talents.

Helene saw during this vision that she had turned inward and given up on her artistic dreams after being sexually harassed by a graduate school professor. “We know now, with the #metoo movement, that what I survived happens to most females in this male-dominated world,” Helene says. “It harms us into silence, which is a type of censoring. Finding and freeing our voice is something a lot of women deal with.”

Blown away by the power of her own transformation, Helene went home to Amherst, Massachusetts, and founded Cosmic Sister, an environmental feminist collective that advocates for women, wilderness, and wildlife and for humans’ natural right to work with “sacred” plants and fungi such as ayahuasca, peyote, iboga, San Pedro cactus, psilocybin mushrooms, and cannabis, which she calls “nature’s evolutionary allies,” in a safe, legal set and setting.

A few years after she founded Cosmic Sister, Helene—who has worked in the arts, high tech, and the natural products industry—came up with the term Psychedelic Feminism as a way to describe the feminism that embraces psychedelic plants as evolutionary allies for women’s healing and empowerment and to popularize Cosmic Sister’s core educational advocacy work.

A tireless and passionate environmental advocate for decades, Helene is convinced that Psychedelic Feminism is the key to saving the planet from patriarchal malware fouling up the matrix. “The entire idea of Psychedelic Feminism, in a nutshell, is that we humans, as a species, have survived male-domination for thousands of years and that system has brought us to where we are today—destroying our own home and taking everything else down with us,” she says. “Cannabis and other plant medicines such as ayahuasca, peyote, iboga, and psilocybin may help save us from ourselves.”

Helene believes it’s high time women took center stage, and psychedelics can help make that happen by bringing them inspiration, clarity, and perspective, as well as liberation from old wounds, self-sabotaging thoughts and thought patterns, and disempowering social programming. “In the medicine space, women can explore conditioning and wounds that stunt and silence,” she says. “We can make sense of them, learn to live with them differently, or purge them altogether.”

Psychedelic feminism has nothing to do with promoting victim consciousness, Helene adds. “We’re about moving forward. Facing wounds and demons resulting from having been victimized is an essential step towards healing.

From Left: Dawn Musil, Shipibo Ancestral Healer Laura Lopez Sanchez, and Sabrina Pilet-Jones

Finding Our Voice and Power

Helene has worked with dozens of women in pre-psychedelic preparation, immersive journeying, and post-psychedelic integration. She and her husband, ethnobotanist Chris Kilham, who wrote The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook, have been taking groups of pasajeros (journeyers) to experience ayahuasca with Indigenous healers in safe retreat centers in the Peruvian Amazon for more than a decade. In 2013, she launched the merit-based Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit grant, which provides support for women to experience ayahuasca ceremony in the Peruvian Amazon, where ayahuasca is legal. She’s seen la medicina work magic on women whose superpowers had been blocked by trauma or grief, often the result of a world that is inherently harsh to women.

“So many cases of PTSD from sexual misconduct and assault, ancestral trauma, and abusive relationships, so much anxiety and depression, repressed rage, low self-esteem,” Helene says. “So many women living with debilitating eating disorders and body image dysmorphia, with addictions, with obsessive compulsive disorders. So much strength and so much needless suffering. Why?”

Ayahuasca, a powerful blend of two plants native to the Amazon, is an intense psychedelic that can “help us access and communicate with our subconscious selves—our pysche—the wilderness within” through visions, which Helene describes as “life-enhancing messages that show up in abstract, symbolic, archetypal, and universal poetic languages.”

Dawn Musil, a scientist and pollinator advocate who went to Temple of the Way of Light in Peru with Helene last March, says ayahuasca taught her to face fear, guilt, her rapist, family pain, and the loss of a loved one—all things she thought would kill her but actually taught her how strong she was. Raised in a family that valued women less than men and taught females to keep quiet, Musil came to a deep understanding while she was in the medicine space that her voice had as much value as men’s.

“Mama Ayahuasca taught me that my power and strength as a female reflects the feminine power of ayahuasca as a plant spirit and that through plant spirit, we will find our voice and power as females to lead the future of gender equality and human rights,” says Musil, who came home from Peru determined to work with plant spirit medicine. “The medicine taught me who I can be and to know that my voice has as much value as the voices of men in the plant medicine space.”

Sabrina Pilet-Jones, an urban gardener who also traveled to Temple with Cosmic Sister last March, had a similar experience of tapping into the essence of all that she could be, empowered by the lineage of her ancestors—an entirely new perception of herself. “Ayahuasca is not a magical pill. It’s hard, deep, transformative shamanic work that forces you into the deepest, darkest parts of yourself to find the unique light we all hold,” Pilet-Jones says. “I left with a strong desire to expand my connection with plants and to continue my research into indigenous plant remedies and now psychedelic plants for healing.”

Coexisting in Exquisite Diversity

The Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit grant is part of an interconnected quartet of merit-based grants that support women’s voices in psychedelics and cannabis. Psychedelic Feminism grants make it possible for women from diverse backgrounds to be heard through writing, photography, and speaking engagements and media placements. Cosmic Sister will play a key role in the upcoming Spirit Plant Medicine Conference (SPMC) in Vancouver, BC, this year, sponsoring all seven of the female speakers, including Helene.

The Cosmic Sister Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance and Cosmic Sisters of Cannabis grants help get widespread media placement for women’s stories in support of cannabis liberation and responsible psychedelic use. Launched just last month in partnership with the Sleeping Octopus Assembly on Psychedelics (SOAP) conference in Pittsburgh and Vancouver’s SPMC the first week of November, the new Emerging Voices Award supports talented newcomers who demonstrate potential in the field of psychedelics by strengthening their visibility and gifting them tickets to important conferences.

One of Helene’s goals with the grants is to help more minority women achieve name and face recognition in the psychedelic community because, she says, “the psychedelic scene is white, cis-gendered, and male-heavy—and our psychedelic culture is supposed to be leading in a more enlightened way.”

Helene’s also quick to point out that Psychedelic Feminism is about promoting gender balance, and she doesn’t believe matriarchy would be any better than the patriarchy we’ve had for thousands of years because “power over” naturally corrupts. Blaming men for everything is sexist, Helene says, and it’s important for the movement to welcome male allies who are interested in growing when it comes to their own archaic gender programming.

“Matriarchy would not be balanced, and it would not be healthy,” Helene says. “It’s all about working together and coexisting in exquisite diversity.”

Aromatherapy is an ancient practice for health and vitality.

When used as a tired idiom to combat stress, hearing “stop and smell the roses” from a well-meaning friend can be annoying. Intuitively, we know that slowing down and practicing gratitude for simple pleasures is at the heart of a happy life. But in practice… it’s hard. And even harder to believe that a daily whiff of geranium oil will cure the sciatica, depression, or __ (fill-in-the-blank) that’s keeping you down. But with any holistic modality, an open mind is the first requirement on the path to feeling better. In Colorado, a wide range of herbalists, estheticians, and massage therapists offer services with aromatherapy to promote optimal health.

When experimenting at home, it’s important to remember that essential oils are incredibly potent and should only be used as suggested by the manufacturer. But with a wide range of applications, anyone can add essential oils to their life without booking an appointment. Could your digestive system use a tune-up? Try adding ginger, peppermint, and fennel to your daily regime. Essential oils can be applied topically when using a carrier oil such as almond or sesame, rubbed on the soles of your feet, or absorbed aromatically through a diffuser. Even easier, try adding few drops to your next hot bath or rub a few drops into your hands before covering your face and breathing deeply.

Curious to learn more? The Institute for Integrative Aromatherapy in Boulder offers an aromatherapy certification program as well as seminars and workshops. Visit RESOURCESFORLIVINGWELL.COM to learn more.

Meet the guys behind Denver’s hottest fashion start-up.

In the shadow of Mile High Stadium, on the top floor of that iconic round building topped with the neon “Turntable Studios” sign, two former college athletes are hard at work, elevating Denver’s sartorial game one custom fitting appointment at a time.

If that sounds grand, wait until you see their hats. Serious hats, made by artisans and designers, rendered in a rich or off-kilter color, with a solid wide brim. Custom-fit, then customized with subtle accents or bold flair. Hats made with integrity, that put out a message that the people wearing them invest in quality, care about style. A dichotomy of classic and cutting-edge, these aren’t cowboy hats, and they are certainly not beanies.

They are statement-making and sophisticated accessories coveted by fashion-forward set in Colorado and far beyond. By the people who DGAF what you think but want to be noticed, the types who elevate street style to haute topic. Men and women alike. The Style-setters, rule breakers, the effortlessly cool crowd. If you can’t picture the type, spend a minute scrolling through the @encounterhatco Insta and you’ll get it. The people you want to know, people you want to be. Aspirational, unpretentious, effortless, classic: all that and more.

Those are the types of hats these two young guys are making in the Mile High. Designers, artisans, college-athletes-turned-millners-and-courtiers, Kyle Theret and Parker Orms run Encounter Hat Co., a brand brimming with promise and on the rise. Get to know them now so once they make it big you can say you knew them back when.

First, there’s Theret, a 30-year-old former defensive back for the University of Minnesota. After graduating, he moved into arena football and played for an international league in Novi Sad, Serbia. Then, there’s Orms, a Colorado native two years younger than his business partner—he’s 28, if you’re bad at math. He went to high school in Wheat Ridge, college in Boulder, where he took the field as a defensive back for the University of Colorado. After his Buffs career ended, Orms, like Theret, followed his passion for the game overseas, landing in Italy to play for the Rhinos in Milan—one of the world’s most celebrated capitals of high fashion.

“Being in Europe and traveling to places that are known for their fashion scenes was a huge influence on what we wanted to do,” says Theret. Back in the US, he met Orms through a mutual friend who owns a streetwear store, and the two bonded over their stylistic interest. Both wanted to start a fashion-forward clothing brand, and Encounter was born.
Orms is a third-generation hat creaser; both his father and grandfather worked in western wear, custom-fitting a hat’s shape and size to its wearer’s head. The process involves starting with an unmolded hat body; after steaming it, the clothier molds it into the style the customer wants.
The final looks can vary in how the brim is rounded or cut and how the crown is creased, with peaks and curves sculpted by hand, using steam to make the felt malleable.

Orms and Theret got training from senior family milliners in a variety of skills. “It’s kind of like arts and crafts,” says Theret. “A project looks a lot easier than it is until you try it. When you first start you make a lot of mistakes. A couple of years later, you’re still learning new techniques.”
The duo started their training by reshaping old cowboy-style toppers. “A hat is like a blank canvas,” says Theret. “Everyone has their own style of how they work that evolves over time. Everyone has a different hand.”

In the world of western wear, a high standard of quality is expected of the garment. For a cowboy or rancher, their headgear is more than just a style or status statement piece; it’s work wear, expected to protect the head and face during the day’s activities, look good (there’s a reason the Marlboro Man was an icon), and last for decades. A beloved piece may be passed down through generations, if not for practical use then for sentimental value Which explains the hefty prices garnered by high-end western-wear brands, which can run into the thousands of dollars. Take, for example, Stetson’s Diamente Premier Cowboy style, which lists for $5,005. In some circles, hats are serious business.

There are even hat-wearing etiquette guides peppered across the internet, talking not only about the personal nature of having an investment piece that such hats are, but the rules of usage. Advice includes everything from the obvious (remove the hat during the national anthem) to the superstitious (when placing a hat upside-down, do so on the crown, not the brim, or luck will pour out of it).

While some of these points don’t necessarily translate to the #ootd-worthy pieces Encounter Hat Co. is producing, the quality factor does. “For a lot of our customers, our hats are their most prized piece of clothing,” says Theret. “We want to bring a certain class and style back.” Having learned from experts in the field, there’s no doubt that their hats have the quality and classic look to last and be passed down through families. Their hats follow some standard western wear shapes, which involve molding either the crown of the hat, the brim, or both. Several of their hats make use of an unmolded crown, letting the felt color, brim width, hat band and flair speak to the style. Other shapes they can use that cross over from western wear are the Teardrop, Cattleman, Brick and Hole.

Encounter’s hat forms are just a jumping off point, though. “It really depends on what the customer wants,” says Theret. “If someone wants a fedora style, we can go that direction. The hats are 100 percent unique to the client.” What they do well is draw on a long tradition of quality hat making, when every town had a quality hat maker, cobbler, tailor, and jeweler as important cornerstones of everyday life. The brand uses high-quality felts: wool, rabbit, beaver, or a rabbit-beaver blend. And unlike its western wear counterparts, which tend to rely on a traditional spectrum of neutral and brown colors, Encounter’s got a hat in every hue—including the burnt-orange color of the now, obviously—and a range of accouterment, add-ons, and feathery flair that allow for personalization and overt expression of style. For a price, of course. The most basic style starts at about $170, but most of the pieces in the current collection runs for about $400 and up.

Most of the materials they use are American made, sourced through the designers’ network of hat blockers, leather workers, and satin producers from across the country, though they have imported from Italy. The custom-fitting process is done in person, taking around an hour from start to finish. Because the hats are personalized, it’s a more engaging experience than something purchased off the rack—with a more enriching end result that’s producing a legion of fans and followers. The brand is drawing customers across the board—whether at pop-ups, private parties, the National Western Stock Show (any western event, really), cannabis conferences, or any other time they get the styles in front of Denver’s fashion-forward millennials.

When it got its start about four years ago, Encounter had its hat-making lab at Bellwether, a coffee and whiskey bar that is home to a barbershop, social club, and retail space located on East Colfax. “I’m only 30 and Parker is only 28, so people are always surprised when they hear our age and learn that we already have been successful and have a pretty established brand,” says Theret. “They think it’s great that we’re two former athletes turned fashionistas.”

For concrete evidence of that success, look to 38th Avenue and York Street, where they’re building out a 2,000-square-foot retail shop, set to open this fall. Along with Encounter’s current lines, Theret and Orms plan to bring in other brands that will complement the Encounter vibe and help customers complete a full look.The plans for the space include a designated hat-making studio, where they’ll hold events like a date night with wine and custom fitting. Neighboring businesses in the center include a range of local fashion brands, cafés, and art studios.

Encounter Hat Co. counts celebs, pro athletes, and people on almost every continent as part of its fan base, having done pop-ups around the globe that ricochet around social media. Their fans don’t fit a certain mold, rather,
“They’re between 25 and 65, men and women—it’s a range,” says Theret. “It’s a situation where they’re looking to add a sophisticated piece to their wardrobe. Typically, the thing our customers have in common is that they’re savvy world travelers with a sense of adventure.”

In September, Encounter Hat Co. heads to Paris Fashion Week to collaborate with fashion designer C.R. Lee in her solo show. They’ll be fitting models with black and white hats to complement the runway designs. Catch them in the Mile High during Denver Fashion Week in early November. “Denver has become that perfect blend between western wear, where people wear hats often, and high-fashion influences coming in,” says Theret. “We want to introduce the high quality seen in western-style hats to the urban market.”

Three Colorado Music Festivals Sure To Have The Sounds of Summer

This august marks the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock, the seminal summer music festival pop culture has imprinted on our brains as a Mecca that called to peace-and-love seeking free spirits—hippie pilgrims, if you will—making their way to upstate New York as if called by a higher power. Drawn like moths to a figurative flame.

Ironic, then, that Woodstock 99 went down in flames of the most literal sense. I was there when it happened, and the bonfires sparked in the middle of the crowd as the Red Hot Chili Peppers left the stage, closing out the final night of the three-day music marathon.

The reality of the weekend should have scared me off festivals for life. From the moment we arrived, it was a bit of a shit show. And we found out after it was all over, the shit was real. Far too real. The misters we frolicked in to cool down from the soaring 100 degree temps had been contaminated by the overflowing porta potties. Everything was absurdly expensive; water was scarce; lines were never-ending; shade was nowhere to be found. By day three, piles of trash consisting of empty boxes that once held overpriced burritos and pizza covered the ground almost entirely. People were angry.

That was when a group lacking foresight started handing out candles for a peaceful ceremony of record-breaking size. Instead, the unhappy crowds used those candles to torch said trash while waiting for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to take the stage.

When the band did and saw what was happening, they did what any responsible decent humans would do: try to stop what was a disaster in the making.

They broke into a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” as flames grew into a bonfire in the center of the crowd.

Just kidding. They broke into a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” as flames grew into a bonfire in the center of the crowd. A hellish sight that sent panic coursing through the collective consciousness, and a burst of survival instincts sent my friends and me running for safety. People rioted, looted the ATMs, destroyed vendor tents. It was scary, it was intense, and it should have turned me off music festivals for life.

Nope! Music festivals are a rite of summer passage, gathering people seeking to immerse their senses in happiness of all sorts—and that applies to every genre I’ve had the chance to experience so far. No matter the type of music that tickles your fancy and dominates your Spotify, there’s a festival in Colorado for you.

Without further lead in or ado, here are three of the highlights from July 2019—each all but guaranteed to not be lit on fire by rioting masses. Whether or not it’s lit in a metaphorical sense is up to you. Go have fun.

Jam Bands: RIDE Fest

July 12–14 // Telluride // ridefestival.com

This destination fest, now in its eighth year, takes place in one of the most stunning settings anywhere. Telluride is perhaps the most picturesque mountain town in the country, and RIDE Fest is smack dab in the middle of it. Surrounded by fourteeners on three sides, Colorado’s favorite cul-de-sac is a little harder to get to than most towns, but the effort is worth it.

Perhaps because of the remote location or because of the attendees the lineup attracts, RIDE is a super chill gathering. Concert goers can bring their own coolers, tents, chairs and other creature comfort-supporting items into the venue, allowing for ample enjoyment during all three days.

This year’s lineup is heavy on jamming rock-and-roll. Widespread Panic kicks off the festival on Friday night for the first of a two-night set; Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit closes it all out on Sunday, and bands like Big Something, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Temperance Movement, and more take the stage in between.

Since its debut in 2012, RIDE Festival has quickly garnered a reputation among music fans for its thoughtful performance curation—handpicking rootsy, rocking talent whose music flawlessly compliments setting. Past performers include Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, the Lumineers, Grace Potter—you get the type.

General Admission weekend passes go for $225, and single days range from $75 to $110. There are discounted lodging rates for festival goers, and camping is always an option.

Photo John Doe

EDM: Global Dance Festival

July 19–20 // Denver // globaldancefest.com

Get on a first-name basis with Denver’s landmark EDM festival. Global returns to Denver this month for two nights filled with electric beats, carnival rides, and colorful crowds. Held at Red Rocks for over a decade, GDF moved to the southern side of Broncos Stadium at Mile High in 2017, where it has more room for mind-expanding music, art, and attractions. Topping this year’s bill are Diplo and a joint set by Excision and Illenium. With multiple stages and state-of-the-art production, the fest’s lineup also includes Kaskade, SHU, and other big names that if you’re into EDM you probably already know are going to be there and if you don’t won’t mean much to you anyway.

The experience is varied and immersive, with striking flame-throwing art installations, heart-beat-raising rides, a silent disco, and other hidden gems to delight and surprise as attendees wander between stages. Roaming dancers, stilters, circus performers, and other costume-clad artists appear among the crowd, encouraging people to frolic along. General Admission Tier 1 and 2 are sold out as of press time; Tier 3 starts at $159.

Rocky Grass

July 26-28 // Lyons // bluegrass.com/rockygrass

The internationally known pickers fest in an eye-candy location is the center of the bluegrass universe every July, as it has been for 47 years and counting. It takes place in Lyons, an historic quarry town in the Rocky Mountain Foothills, where the iconic Planet Bluegrass venue is set under the red rock cliffs on the wooded banks of the St. Vrain River.
With only about 5,000 attendees, there’s an intimate vibe and sense of community. Highlights of the weekend include contests, workshops, and special performances in the 300-seat Wildflower Pavillion, along with great food, the Colorado state bluegrass championship, a family tent, and more.

But perhaps the biggest draw of is the chance to float on an inner tube while listening to some killer tunes while in the company of some great people. At night, jam circles in the woods add a bit of magic to the experience, enhanced even more by the sound of music echoing off the canyon walls.

The lineup this year features a lot of different artists over three days, including Soggy Bottom Boys, Sam Bush Bluegrass Bands, Punch Brothers Play & Sing Bluegrass, the Barefoot Movement, and others. Single-day tickets start at $75, a camping spot for an extra $50—but move quickly to snag some before they sell out.

PRESS

Sensi Media Group Names Mike Mansbridge As New President