March Horoscope

Feb. 19–Mar. 20

Listen to the compliment that presents itself to you as a criticism; energies will make you better through jealousy and roadblocks. It could be that you realize it’s time for a change.

Mar. 21–Apr. 19

There is something to celebrate that presents itself to you. To thank the universe for this opportunity or inspiration, donate to an organization a few times this month.

Apr. 20–May 20

Do not try to impress anyone who isn’t treating you well. Please agree with the vibration that you are perfect the way you are—and totally step back from the people who are taking advantage of your good nature.

May 21–June 20

It’s time to apologize for the things you have done to hurt people. If your ego won’t let you actually call them to apologize, write them a “spiritual” letter telling them you were unfair to them and that you are sorry.

June 21–July 22

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” The door to your future couldn’t open any wider. If you want the job, you can have it. If you want that relationship to go to the next level, you can have it.

July 23–Aug. 22

People are about to prove to you how much they love you. March is when your gratitude toward people who are supporting you will make all the difference.

Aug. 23–Sept. 22

There are angels surrounding you. Pennies and feathers in your path are likely. This is a month of being aware of how things are lining up for you. Accept all invitations.

Sept. 23–Oct. 22

Coincidence will be your best friend this month. It’s time to drop (old) ideas that you can’t have what you want…you totally can. Pay attention!

Oct. 23–Nov. 21

Practice saying nice things about people. Do not take on the bad karma right now of backstabbing those who truly do not deserve it. Ask yourself: “Am I basing my opinion on someone else’s agenda?”

Nov. 22–Dec. 21

You are the owner of this lifetime and acting as though you do have the power to change things will make all the difference this month. You will get a sign that you are on the right track.

Dec. 22–Jan. 19

When you focus on one thing at a time, you are a genius. Avoid multitasking this month. Better to spend the time to make sure it’s done right the first time.

Jan. 20–Feb. 18

Embrace the high energy of spinning lots of plates right now. You are the chef who has many pots simmering, and it’s time to admit that you like it this way. Thrive by making the magic happen with all the resources available to you.

Tiny homes are an obvious solution to housing and climate issues.

I visited Jay Shafer’s meticulous American Gothic–style house in a sun-dappled Iowa City backyard shortly after we launched Natural Home magazine in 1999. The Dow had just surpassed 10,000, mortgage credit requirements were melting into oblivion, and America had a bad case of McMansion Mania. Shafer’s 130-square-foot home (yes, you read that right), built for $40,000, was a hard “no” to all that. It was also cozy and inviting, and Shafer described himself as a claustrophile (someone who loves closed-in spaces).

Shafer won the Philosophy and Innovation Award in our Natural Home of the Year contest because his adorable house embodied everything the magazine stood for, and he wasn’t afraid to say things. He said that we Americans like our homes like we like our food—big and cheap—and he was the first to figure out that putting a tiny house on wheels makes it an RV and therefore not subject to city and county minimum-size standards and codes. He wasn’t shy about his intention to make tiny homes a revolutionary alternative in a housing market headed for disaster.

“I am certainly not proposing that everyone should live in a house as small as mine,” Shafer wrote in the letter accompanying his contest entry. “Such minimalism would be excessive for most people. What I am saying is that the scale of our homes should be as varied as the spatial needs of their inhabitants, and that it is those needs rather than government regulations and conspicuous consumption that should determine house size.”

Shafer’s message was radical, and largely ignored, in the frenzy leading up to the 2008 crash. But his company, Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, built a following, and he built a name for himself as the godfather of a fledgling tiny house movement (one blogger called him “the George Washington of simple and sustainable living”). He wrote The Small House Book and was on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Then he lost the company in a business dispute and his house in a divorce, and he was homeless for a while, living in a pigpen inside a shed. Determined never to live that way again, Shafer designed a 50-square-foot home that cost $5,000 in Sebastopol, California. He gives master class workshops at tiny house festivals around the world (including the Tiny House Festival Australia in Bendigo, Victoria, March 21–22).

“The evolution of tiny houses has paralleled the digital revolution, since this whole tiny thing started at the turn of the century,” Shafer told in 2014. “Once it became possible to have a remote little phone instead of a landline and a wall-mounted flat screen instead of a 2-foot-by-1-foot chunk on the dresser, folks started seeing the potential for living in what basically amounts to a laptop with a roof.”

A Status Symbol for Humble Braggers

Though 82 percent of renters say they would like to buy a home someday, according to Fannie Mae, homeownership is at its lowest point since 1965. Ordinary people can’t afford the American Dream (median listing price: $310,000). In the Bay Area, homebuyers paid twice their annual income for a house in the 1960s; today, they shell out nine times their yearly salary. Only 13 percent of millennial renters in the United States will have enough cash to put 20 percent down on a house in the next five years, according to an Apartment List survey.

Tiny homes are much cheaper, with prices ranging from $10,000 to more than $200,000 (averaging about $65,000), and operating and maintaining them costs a lot less. When the International Code Commission made changes to its residential code to facilitate tiny house construction in 2018, it reported lifetime conditioning costs as low as 7 percent of conventional homes.

That reality is driving the spike in interest in tiny homes, which are getting a lot of attention as a solution to the affordable housing and homeless crises, with the added bonus of being kinder to the planet than a traditional three-bedroom/two-bath. Whether they live in tiny homes for financial reasons or not, climate-aware homebuyers get a status symbol that flaunts their honorable choice to reduce their footprint and live with less—no easy thing to do, even in this post-Kondo age.

It doesn’t hurt that tiny homes—generally defined as homes with less than 400 square feet—are now readily available in every style, from your basic shed to sleek Dwell-worthy models. You can buy plans and build a tiny house yourself or pick out one online and have it shipped to you. You can even order one on Amazon. Used tiny homes, along with inspirational stories and information, can be found at sites like,, and Tiny Home Nation: 10K Strong

More than half of Americans would consider a tiny home, according to a National Association of Home Builders survey. Potential buyers and just-dreamers flock to check out micro-houses, “schoolies” (converted school buses), and vans at tiny home festivals like the Florida Suncoast Tiny Home Festival in St. Petersburg (March 28–29) and the People’s Tiny House Festival in Golden, Colorado (June 6–7). But the reality is that only about 10,000 people in North America—the lucky ones who have managed to find parking spots—actually live in tiny homes.

Like anything that disrupts the norm in a conformist capitalist culture, building a tiny home in a world of ticky-tacky boxes is not easy. The good news is that times are changing, as municipalities consider tiny home villages as a way to house the homeless and marginalized communities. Still, most states only allow tiny homes to be parked in rural areas (Massachusetts, California, Florida, and Oregon are somewhat more lenient). Because most zoning laws in the United States don’t have a classification for tiny houses, most owners have to follow Shafer’s lead and register them as RVs, trailers, or mobile homes.

In most places, zoning ordinances won’t allow you to buy land, park your tiny home/RV, and live happily ever after. You either have to rely on the kindness of family and friends with backyards or pay a monthly park fee to rent a space in one of the tiny home villages cropping up across the country. Park Delta Bay, an RV resort in Isleton, California, now has a row reserved for tiny homes. At Village Farm, an RV resort that’s turning into a tiny-home community in Austin, Texas, residents pay about $600 to $700 a month to park and use the services.

Slowly, city and state governments are responding to homebuyers’ demands for tiny home opportunities beyond RV resorts. Portland, Oregon, (but of course) has relaxed its ordinances to allow for everything from tiny house communities to tiny house hotels. In Rockledge, Florida, citizens demanded zoning changes allowing for a pocket neighborhood with homes ranging from 150 to 700 square feet. A tiny home community for low-income residents is under way on Detroit’s west side, and Vail, Arizona, built two dozen 300- to 400-square-foot houses for schoolteachers.

Advocacy groups have been paving the way for tiny homes since Shafer and a few friends founded the Small Home Society in 2002, and they’re seeing a resurgence. In 2017, a group of University of California-Berkeley students launched the Tiny House in My Backyard (THIMBY) project to promote research and development and raise awareness of tiny house communities. Operation Tiny Home is a national nonprofit that helps people “maintain a life of dignity” through high-quality tiny housing and empowerment training programs.

In Canada, activists calling themselves Tiny House Warriors are taking the revolution to the next level, placing “resistance-homes-on-wheels” along the pathway of the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline. “We are asserting our inherent, God-given right to our lands,” says Kanahus Manuel, a leader of Tiny House Warrior. “We’re defending what’s ours, and tiny homes are how we’re doing it.”

A walk through history reveals random facts, interesting tales, and more reasons to love LA.

Cover Photo by Kevin Fremon

Los Angeles officially became an American city on April 4, 1850, named El Pueblo de la Reyna de los Angeles, meaning “The Town of the Queen of Angels.” While this is still contested by historians, it is now universally referred to as the “City of Angels.”

It was established as a settlement in 1781 by a Spanish governor named Felipe de Neve. Originally part of Mexico, LA became a municipality of the US after the Mexican War of Independence. It was purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo prior to California getting its official statehood in the union.

The city dwells in a basin that is surrounded by mountains as high as 10,000 feet and a sprawling sea by way of the Pacific Ocean. Its first riches came when oil was struck in the 1890s, which led to a surge of settlers claiming Los Angeles as their new home.

Fast-forward a few decades and Los Angeles became (and still is) the busiest container port of all the Americas. With growth came progress, including engineering, technology, design, and eventually film and television. Home to more than 88 cities and 4 million residents within the county limits, Los Angeles is the source of some truly fascinating tales. Below is a look at some of the interesting things you may not know about the City of Angels.

Venice Canal Historic District | 1905

Los Angeles has so many extraordinary features, but this historic district tucked away in photogenic Venice Beach feels more like you’ve been transported to Venice, Italy. Cute waterfront cottages and bridges line this European-like district that’s a mecca for creatives. It’s the vision of developer Abbot Kinney (yes, the man the eponymous district is named for). While the area has changed considerably with the inclusion of modern homes amid classic originals, the district was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Where permitted, residents can take kayaks and rowboats onto the canals that lead through the sea gates of Marina del Rey.

Birth of Hollywood | 1907-1915

Hollywood was once an agriculture mecca before banker and real estate mogul H.J. Whitley purchased property and opened the Hollywood Hotel (now the Dolby Theatre). The first film to be completed in Hollywood, The Count of Monte Cristo, was released in 1908, after ties with Chicago-based studios led by Thomas Edison forced filmmakers to move out West. In 1910, Prospect Avenue was born, which inevitably became the famed Hollywood Boulevard. By 1915, more than 15 studios were in production around town. Today there are more than 100 movie and television shows filmed every day in Los Angeles.

Photo by Eric Urquhart

LACMA | 1913

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum are two of the city’s first known museums. Originally called the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art, the museum opened to the public in 1913 in Exposition Park. It wasn’t until 1961 that the museum split to become what we now know as LACMA and the Natural History Museum.

Black Dahlia | 1947

Downtown Los Angeles is the last place the Black Dahlia, a.k.a. Elizabeth Short, was seen alive. Rumor has it that on January 9, 1947, she was dropped off by Robert “Red” Manley at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Guests claim to have seen her in the cocktail lounge, but the staff at the hotel claims she slipped out one of the many secret exits in the ballrooms (the exits still exist today). An aspiring actress, Short never made it in the film industry. Her body was discovered on the morning of January 15, 1947, by Betty Bersinger, who was out walking with her three-year-old daughter. Her body had been severed into two pieces, completely drained of blood, and she was left on the west side of South Norton Avenue near Coliseum Street in Leimert Park. There were more than 150 suspects, but no one was ever charged. To date, the murder is arguably one of the most notorious cold cases in America, and certainly the most prominent unsolved case in Los Angeles history. The name Black Dahlia is linked to the 1946 noir film The Blue Dahlia, and Short was known for adorning her hair with dahlia blooms.

A fun tidbit is that underneath the Biltmore hotel, there are rooms, tunnels, walkways, and interesting fixtures, many of which have been featured in films. One of the more recognizable is the black and white tiled bathroom used in a prominent scene in Fight Club.

Beverly Hills | 1910-Present

Beverly Hills may be known as the land of the wealthy, Rodeo Drive, and films and shows like Pretty Woman, Beverly Hills Hillbillies, 90210, and Beverly Hills Cop (I-III), but it also happens to be where oil was struck in 1910. In fact, Beverly Hills High once produced 400 barrels of oil a day on its property, earning the school a whopping $300,000 annually in revenue. However, due to concerns about cancer-causing toxic fumes (lawsuits ensued), oil production ceased in 2017. Clearly there was much more than meets the eye at this famously pristine public high school!

Hollywood Sign | 1923

A number of modern films have made the Hollywood sign infinitely epic, like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Superman, and Independence Day, but LA’s iconic signage began construction years prior in 1923. Constructed with 3,700 20-watt light bulbs, spaced eight inches apart, the Hollywood sign was initially a nod to a new housing development called Hollywoodland, which real estate developers Eli Clark, General Moses Sherman, Tracy Shoults, Sydney Woodruff and the Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler invested in. The letters weigh a cumulative total of 480,000 pounds and are each 45 feet tall. According to, after years of neglect, the “land” was removed permanently from the sign in 1973 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

At one time, visitors could hike all the way to the Hollywood sign, but it has since been closed off due to the number of suicides and accidents reported. You can still hike on trails in Griffith Park, with views of the sign and the Griffith Park Observatory, but direct access is prohibited.

Cannabis meets fashion at High Style, an evening of style, substance, and sustainability in Denver.

Denver native Jenny Baker-Strasburg’s eyes were opened to cannabis’s healing potential after she moved back to Colorado from New York and was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. When the treatment she was prescribed turned out to be more debilitating than the disease itself, Strasburg’s husband suggested giving cannabis a try. She figured it couldn’t hurt, and through trial and error, she discovered CBD. It felt like a miracle.

Strasburg made it her mission to learn everything she could about the plant, including how to ensure the cannabis products she was using were free of toxic chemicals and were produced sustainably. And she’s using her platform as co-founder of JAM Productions, which creates experiential fashion events, to spread the word.

On Thursday, March 5, JAM Productions is partnering with Westword—the first mainstream media outlet to hire a cannabis critic—to create High Style, a carefully curated fusion of cannabis-infused fashion, education, and wellness focused on style, substance, and sustainability. She and her partner, Mary Spicer, have pulled together an amazing crew of cannabis-industry experts and pioneers from Denver and beyond to help pull it off.

“We’re starting a conversation about mindful alternatives,” Strasburg says. “High Style is featuring companies that are growing, creating, and packaging items that help you look good, feel good, have fun—and save the world.”

The show will fill three floors of the McNichols Civic Center Building in Civic Center Park with two fashion shows, presentations, panels, and a marketplace where high-end hemp and cannabis brands will show off their wares. There will be passed hors d’oeuvres and samplings of CBD and sprits throughout the event, but—sorry—no cannabis consumption allowed on-site (because, laws).

Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook and Pot in Pans author and Cannabis Kitchen Events CEO Robyn Griggs Lawrence (who is also editor-at-large for Sensi) will show how to make cannabis-infused food, followed by a lively Q&A with Jane West of eponymous global cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West and co-founder of Women Grow (who wrote the foreword to the Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook). Later, a panel of industry leaders will riff on “Trends in Fashion, Beauty & Cannabis.”

The first fashion show will include the winter collection from Boulder-based Pact, which bills itself as “the world’s first guilt-free fashion brand” because its Fair Trade Certified clothes are made from 100 percent organic cotton, and the company offers ways to recycle or reuse old clothing, towels, and linens. Portland, Oregon-based designer Erin Colvin will showcase her High Society Collection of handmade jewelry with a subtle cannabis theme and will be selling that jewelry and more at a pop-up shop on the third floor. And, finally, Simple Shoes will represent with basic, comfortable footwear.

Korto Momolu, the Liberian-born designer who was a Project Runway All Stars favorite, will rule the second fashion show of the night with the ready-to-wear collection she created in collaboration with cannabis networking group Women Grow to spotlight the natural intersection of fashion and cannabis, two of the world’s most cutting-edge industries. The size-inclusive collection, made from sustainable materials such as hemp, jute, and cork, with some pieces sporting cannabis leaves and Women Grow logos, will also be available for sale at an on-site pop-up store, and Momolu will be on hand for a meet-and-greet.

“It’s all about inclusion and changing the conversation,” Momolu told Sensi in an interview about the collection last fall after it debuted with a runway show at Pier59 Studios during New York’s biannual Fashion Week. “We wanted to say, this is what cannabis looks like, what Women Grow looks like, and what Korto Momolu looks like all mixed up in there.”

The Alpine Hemp Company, a hemp apparel and CBD company founded by snowboarder Bryan DeHaven, will provide sustainable gift bags, and a team of stylists from Matthew Morris Salon & Skincare will create hair and makeup looks for the models.

Strasburg, who produced fashion shows and in-store marketing programs for Liz Claiborne, DKNY Jeans, Kenneth Cole, and Laundry, worked with Westword before to produce Whiteout, a fashion show with live music, specialty vendors, and classic cocktails that was also held at McNichols. She says many of the best sustainable fashion companies are based in Denver.

“High Style will feature fascinating companies tackling social justice and leading the way toward sustainability with transparency and best practices,” Strasburg says. “This will be a fun evening and a safe environment for people to explore this powerful plant.”

A lot of old traditions should be left in the past.

Here’s one: Historically, Leap Day was a day women had the right to propose to men who were taking too long to commit. One day, every four years, women were free to go after what they wanted—which is both sexist and progressive. I asked the universe how I should feel. It told me to stop asking it questions and to check out the gift the planet got for me and you and everyone: a whole extra day. Thanks, Earth!

Leap Day is a gift, and I propose we celebrate it by spending those free 24 hours going after what we want—whatever that may be. February 29 falls on a Saturday this year, a planetary/calendar alignment that happens once every 28 years. Until we make Leap Year an official holiday, this year’s free day affords the greatest chance for many to make the most out of the planetary gift. What will you do with your big day?

While you’re thinking about it, I’ll share big news on the brand front: we’ve launched a brand new website and a new magazine market. Check out, where you’ll see all our editions, including the new Sensi Tampa, our third edition to launch in a market where cannabis is still under prohibition. From the start, our mission has been to show cannabis as a beneficial part of a well-rounded, wellness-driven lifestyle in any city. That message was easy to spread in Colorado, then California, Vegas, Boston, and Detroit, but now we have the chance to showcase that lifestyle to markets where “the new normal” isn’t quite normal yet. It’s an opportunity we don’t take lightly, and I’m humbled whenever I take a step back and consider how incredible it is to be a part of a team of people driven to make a difference, to spark change in their communities, to stand up as advocates for the end of the madness that convinced generations of people to fear a plant that’s long been known to provide so much good.

On the new site, you’ll be able to find information about upcoming Sensi events in all 14 of our current markets, including Denver’s February 12 gathering. If you’re in the area, you should come by, see what this new normal is all about. We’d love to have you. Sensi has a way of bringing good people together.

Let’s connect.

Stephanie Wilson

On the Calendar: Denver/Boulder, February 2020

When the winter gets long, Denverites drink good beer. On the calendar this month, you’ll find no shortage of beer festivals—some with music and one with grilled cheese. (There’s also a tequila festival.) If alcohol isn’t your solution to February, there’s plenty here for you too. Check out some great films, plan your next vacation, or get inspired to start a garden. End the month with a date for a date for Restaurant Week, which starts Feb. 21.

HeartFire Festival

February 1, 2020
Naropa University, Boulder
his new paradigm in festival culture, combines conscious music and performance art with spiritual teaching and transformational workshops.

Vegan Boulder Ethnic Market Tour

February 1, 2020
Villa Shopping Center, Boulder

Backcountry Film Festival

February 6, 2020
The Caribou Room, Nederland
This 15th annual celebration of the human-powered experience is presented by the Winter Wildlands Alliance.

Winter Folk

February 7–March 1 (weekends), 2020
The St Vrain, Longmont
This movie and photography showcase to benefit Colorado youth arts programs features live bands and culminates in a Bluegrass Weekend.

Monster Jam

February 7–9, 2020
Pepsi Center, Denver
Grave Digger, Scooby-Doo, and Avenger headline this gathering of the top monster trucks on the circuit.

420 Silent Party: Pride Edition

February 8–9, 2020
Private Location, Denver
Silent Party World presents a silent party, silent concert, silent cypher, and silent cinema featuring classic stoner flicks.

Star Brews Beer Festival

February 8, 2020
Temple Nightclub, Denver
Temple is transformed into an intergalactic playground for tastings from more than 20 craft brewers, food, and live music from the Storm Rockers and R2-D12.

Sufferfest Beer Co. Old Man Winter Bike Rally & Run

February 9, 2020
LaVern M. Johnson Park, Lyons

The Wizard’s Beer Festival

February 14, 2020
Diebolt Brewing Co., Denver
Don your wizard cap and enjoy local DJs, tarot card readers, wand- and potion-making classes, and plenty of dry ice.

Colorado Acro Fest

February 14–16, 2020
Boulder Circus Center
This festival brings together acrobatics practitioners and industry leaders, with leading instructors for circus acrobatics, cheer, acro-yoga, Icarian, and yoga slackers.

Midwinter Bluegrass Festival

February 14–16, 2020
Ramada Plaza by Wyndham, Northglenn
This event features more than just music, with vendors selling instruments, art and crafts, and jewelry. It will also have workshops and a band scramble.

Mile High Grilled Cheese & Beer Fest

February 15, 2020
Runway 35, Denver

Blunts & Blondes

February 16, 2020
Ogden Theatre, Denver

Winter Wonder Grass

February 21–23, 2020
Steamboat Springs
Greensky Bluegrass, Billy Strings, and Margo Price headline the eighth annual music festival featuring more than 20 bands and 20 Colorado breweries.

Denver Restaurant Week

February 21–March 1, 2020
More than 250 of the city’s best restaurants offer fixed multicourse menus for $25 to $45 per person.

Denver Winter Tequila Tasting Festival

February 22, 2020
Blake Street Tavern, Denver

Tickets on Eventbrite

Denver Travel & Adventure Show

February 22–23, 2020
Colorado Convention Center, Denver
Explore more than 150 vacation options around the world, attend seminars, and enjoy music and dancing on the Global Beats Stage.

Reptilian Nation Expo

February 22–23, 2020
Denver Mart, Denver
Colorado’s largest reptile show, featuring vendors, breeders, and exhibits.

Colorado Garden and Home Show

February 22–March 1, 2020
Colorado Convention Center, Denver
Check out the latest in landscaping, gardening, and home improvement, including more than an acre of professionally landscaped gardens, at the region’s largest, most established garden and home show.

Love Your Life Event

February 24, 2020
Aurora Cultural Arts District
Suicide prevention nonprofit Catalively celebrates art and positive messages at this fundraiser.

Banff Center Mountain Film Festival

February 25–27, 2020
Boulder Theater, Boulder

Tickets at Eventbrite

Winter Craft

February 29, 2020
Folsom Field, Boulder
Enjoy your favorite craft beers and discover new ones from more than 50 breweries at this annual event.

Rocky Mountain Antique Festival

February 29–March 1, 2020
Arapahoe County Fairgrounds, Denver

The strange and raucously entertaining world of online dating.

Meeting that special someone is no longer an organic process. Rarely do you find your person through a party or a chance meeting in a bar or grocery store. Thanks to technology and overzealous web developers, we’ve streamlined dating to pre-process and check off all our wants and needs to ensure we find the mate who really fits the bill—or who can at least foot the bill at the end of dinner. This has led to some bizarre, niche dating websites. 

For example, the website is where you can “meet others in the world who understand the unique ‘purrsonality’ that cats possess and why we share the love of cats.” So yeah, there’s that. 

Sure, this month may be one where love is thrust upon us with the brute force of consumerism, but that may make you feel more self-assured, especially when you realize how many options you have.

The Food Sets the Mood is “a service that helps you find love based on the contents of your fridge.” Based on the items you have, Refrigerdating will “hook you up with a variation of fridges of different tastes.” That’s one way to avoid sending embarrassing “sexy” pics—unless organized food containers do it for you. is “a social network for people who think food is bland if it’s not spicy enough to make their forehead sweat.” The site poses the question: “Why risk hearing ‘I don’t like spicy food’ on a first date, when you know that would be a deal breaker?” describes itself as “a welcoming place where people can find gluten-free dating partners, friends, and activity groups.” If you don’t meet your true anti-glute on this site, at least you’ll find some great recipes. offers folks prone to breaking out in hives on a restaurant date a chance to avoid the ER. As the site’s founder explains, “I wondered how I’d find a guy who would be comfortable in my dairy-free, shellfish-free, and nut-free household… I knew similar men and women were searching, too.” is a dating site and app for the cannabis advocate who doesn’t want to be shamed for partaking. Meet your cannabis-friendly single here. Or be too stoned to care who you meet. 

Someone for Everyone is for “Polysexual, Pansexual, Bisexual + 20 more” alternative sexual preferences. A prize will be given to whoever can name the other 20. is for those who love pretending to be anthropomorphic animals. If you are particularly hirsute, you might qualify. is a website “for zombies, zombie lovers, and people who have been working in a dead-end job for too long.” So what if their cover page shows a face dripping in blood?

If zombies don’t turn you on, maybe vampires will. lets you “find members based on whether they are into sanguine vampirism or psychic vampirism. Meet other vampires, vampire lovers, and even amateur vampire hunters.” 

For the macabre-curious, consider Dead Meet Dating (, intended for those who work in the death industry—grave diggers, morticians, funeral directors, and autopsy experts. is for—you guessed it—adults who wear diapers, not out of need but out of desire. 

People who have a thing for clowns have the privilege of choosing from two dating sites: and If you’re into it, now you can just don a red nose and goofy outfit and call it a night. claims to be the number one dating site for masters and commanders. Climb aboard? Man the helm? This is for a finite group of Captain Stubing types., much like Magnum P.I., is all about the moustache. If you love women who sport the hairy lip—that’s another site. 

In a similar vein, the exists. You thought mullets went out of style? Not according to this group. is a site for the Amish. But how do they use it? is where twins meet other twins. So, if you don’t like your partner, switch., not to be confused with, has the tagline, “Single in the country?” and yes that does sound a little serial-killer-esque. Ready to live your real-life Bachelor or Bachelorette experience? This site is made for “those looking for serious love.” is dedicated to love for those ladies who are incarcerated. It’s a real thing.

So, there you have it. From cats to clowns to cannabis, there’s love to be found for everyone under the sun. At this point, it couldn’t be any worse than Tinder.  

These 33 dreamy restaurants and lounges will make for a steamy Valentine’s Day.

We know how stressful V-Day reservations can be. Whether you’re kindling or rekindling romance, a lot gets loaded into where you and your sweetheart spend this particular evening. You need reservations. We’ve got you covered, with 33 of the most romantic spots in Denver and Boulder to woo your favorite someone. Find one and make a reservation. You do not want to get caught on a Friday Valentine’s Day without them (we may know this from experience).

Chef Caroline Glover calls her fare “scratch-to-table.” The aroma of meat and vegetables on a wood-burning grill makes this atmospheric restaurant inside Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace one cozy place to spend a winter night.

Balistreri Vineyards
For wine lovers, sharing a tasting of sulfite-free handcrafted wines and seasonally inspired small plates at this idyllic North Denver winery is the ultimate. A special six-course dinner on Valentine’s weekend is beyond.

Bamboo Sushi
This sleek LoHi favorite brought sustainable sushi to Denver, and it serves a delicious Wagyu burger. A sweet spot for two.

Bar Helix
The vibe at this modern bar and lounge in the heart of RiNo is chill, perfect for cocktails and small plates. Valentine’s Day is “love the one you’re with” night, with specialty cocktails and champagne specials.

Barolo Grill
You’ll find Northern Italian cuisine and a thoughtful wine list supporting small family wineries at this rustic yet elegant Cherry Creek North eatery.

Beast + Bottle
This intimate Uptown spot specializes in lamb dishes (the menu’s categorized by “lamb” and “not lamb”) made with “relentlessly local” ingredients.

Beatrice & Woodsley
At this Wash Park restaurant, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into an antique cabin, with hand-hewn materials and a small glowing aspen grove. And it’s doing a special Valentine’s Day thing.

Bistro Vendome
This charming French bistro in Larimer Square’s Sussex building is the place to go for classic French fare and champagne cocktails.

The seasonally driven menu at this playful, intimate restaurant on the edge of Wash Park is simple and focused on quality local ingredients.

Black Cat
This sleek bistro in downtown Boulder serves innovative meals made from produce grown on the chef and owner’s nearby organic farm.

Brasserie Ten
A downtown Boulder staple, this vibrant café serves homestyle French fare and fresh oysters.

This funky restaurant in LoDo serves Southeast Asian–inspired small plates and bottles of sake meant to be shared, and it’s breaking policy to take reservations for Valentine’s Day.

The Cooper Lounge
Perched above Union Station’s Great Hall with exquisite downtown views, this glamorous retreat offers high-end cocktails and small bites. Go all out and spend the night at the Crawford Hotel. Why not?

This cozy Uptown eatery (the name means “blanket” in Italian) is where you’ll find comfortable Southern Italian classics, perfect in February.

Corridor 44
Opulent is the word for this Larimer Square champagne bar, which offers the bubbly (of course) as well as inventive cocktails, caviar service, and a full dinner menu.

The Crimson Room
For a champagne-and- chocolate-truffles kind of Valentine’s Day, accompanied by live piano, guitar, or jazz, there’s simply nowhere else. (Grab a selfie in the throne chairs.)

The Cruise Room
Considered one of Denver’s most Instagrammable spots, the historic Art Deco bar at the Oxford Hotel in LoDo is great for classic cocktails and small plates.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House
This lush Greenwood Village is a steakhouse classic, featuring steaks, chops, and seafood; an extensive wine list; and cigar service.

El Five
Perched high above LoHi, with spectacular city views, this is the spot for tapas and curated Spanish wines.

The Family Jones Spirit House
This LoHi space with soaring windows and a sunken bar serves cocktails and custom plates from a bar and kitchen hybrid known as the “bitchen.”

Flagstaff House
This Boulder icon up Flagstaff Canyon, with fine food, stellar service, and amazing views, has been the place to impress your date for more than half a century.

With only 50 seats, this restaurant serves creative cuisine in an unpretentious setting, and the carefully chosen fresh, local ingredients really shine.

Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret
At this Parisian nightclub in the basement of the historic Daniels & Fisher Tower on the 16th Street Mall, there’s music and burlesque, appetizers and desserts.

License No. 1
Sip craft cocktails and listen to live music at this sprawling hideaway in the basement of Boulder’s Hotel Boulderado, a secret rendezvous spot with plenty of hidden nooks and crannies ever since it scored the city’s first liquor license in 1969.

This Capitol Hill standby has a soft, elegant ambience and changes the menu monthly, giving chefs free reign to experiment.

Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club
You can sip a glass of wine or a cocktail while you share plates at this RiNo jazz lounge, but the five-course tasting menus inspired by historic and iconic music albums are the most fun.

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
The veggie-friendly small-plates menu is a bonus at this upscale LoDo gastropub, but the brothel vibe (because it once was one) makes it ideal for a vintage soft-core Valentine’s.

Peaks Lounge
How can a spot overlooking Denver from the 27th floor not be romantic? This bar atop the Hyatt Regency has a good selection of cocktails made from Colorado-crafted spirits to sip with small plates and desserts (s’mores fondue for two would be the Valentine’s Day choice).

This Cherry Creek North classic, with its soft yellow ambience and rustic Italian comfort food, feels like putting on a favorite cashmere sweater.

Sushi Sasa
Small but mighty, this quiet restaurant in Highland Park serves some of Denver’s best Japanese fare.

From the team behind Boulder’s legendary Frasca Food and Wine, this Union Station restaurant offers Italian cuisine and an impressive wine list. The fireplace lounge is the place to be on a cold February night.

In the heart of Union Station, this 50-seat “gastroteka” does it Spanish style, with Iberian-inspired tapas and creative gin-tonics.

At this warm, inviting LoDo spot, it’s all about the sauce. You can share plates of fire-grilled meats and vegetables to dip in those divine sauces and a bottle of wine from an award-winning list.

Let this whiskey-and-rye cocktail take you for a ride.

Wash Park’s Beatrice & Woodsley regularly tops Denver’s “most romantic” lists. It will be the place to be on Valentine’s Day, as bartenders mix up this warming cocktail—a restaurant favorite—to get the night started. If you didn’t manage to score reservations this year, you can mix one up for your sweetheart at home.

Do the Worm

Recipe Beatrice & Woodsley

¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce cinnamon simple syrup
½ ounce Leopold’s Apple Whiskey
1 ounce Old
Overholt Rye
Lemon wheel for garnish

  • In a shaker or mixing glass, combine all ingredients with ice and shake.
  • Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with lemon wheel and serve.

In two decades, your future meals will be flavored with trendy contradictions.

As Sunday morning, January 1, 2040, dawns, Coloradans will wake up to a breakfast of lab-cultured sausage, mung bean–based eggs, and tiger-nut-flour banana bread—all prepared by robots who talk like Alexa’s much smarter granddaughter. There is no kale in sight, and almond milk was banned long ago for being an environmental threat.
The first month of the year is still filled with new diets, new calendars, new dire warnings, and the traditional predictions from culinary prognosticators.

I’ve been the guy predicting the next big food thing in newspapers and magazines since the early 1980s. See how official I just sounded?
Admittedly, I’m a food data geek who soaks up stats from the market research firm NPD Group, Whole Foods, food industry insight source Technomic, Forbes, the National Restaurant Association, and similar sources. Tell me what you’ll eat, and I’ll tell you who you’ll be.

Looking forward 20 years in nutrition, there are dining, grocery shopping, and farming trends that I think will be going strong.

Shop till You Stop and Use AI

The retail store demise that has sunk Macy’s and other merchandisers will eventually close many of the neighborhood markets we now frequent. They will focus on pickup and delivery with limited hours for old-timers who like to wander the aisles. “Locally grown” will mean greens, herbs, and other fresh foods grown in vertical and hydroponic mini-farms at the store.

Meanwhile, grocery checkout lines will be an anachronism (along with debit cards) as technologies including face recognition deliver automatic payments. Look for more cluster locales that combine a hybrid of fast-casual eatery, grocery store, and upscale convenience store with gas pumps and electric vehicle charging. Morality becomes the third pillar of food choice along with taste and nutrition. Apps (such as the current GreenChoice) will serve as a Trivago for shopping with a conscience and guarantee the food we buy meets our values concerning food safety, nutrition, and environmental impact.

AI-powered robots will be an intimate part of dining, shopping, and farming. China’s PuduTech is already selling a robotic food delivery cat. In Spain, an electronic tongue has been tested for beer tasting. Whole Foods Market is working on a robotic barista.

When Waste Finally Makes Tastes

Many nascent movements in 2020 will be accepted practice by necessity in 2040 because of ongoing environmental degradation and population pressure. Efforts to assure food security to everyone, practice sustainable and regenerative agriculture, grow urban gardens, rescue edible food, create compost, and eliminate food waste come together to change the way we will approach cooking and dining.

Reusable containers will be the norm, and foam takeout food containers will be antiques along with plastic shopping bags. Eateries will only use 100 percent recyclable and compostable packaging as well as edible plates and cups made from rice, seaweed, and potatoes. Kids will get edible flavored pasta (bucatini) drinking straws.

Who Will Grow the Steak for Your Philly?

Plant-based burgers are all the rage now, with plant-based chicken, pork, scallops. Eggplant-based eel for sushi is coming soon. By 2040, plant-based will be part of a roster of crafted and lab-grown foods, including cell-grown proteins and farm-free foods made by “ferming,”which is brewing unicellular microbes to create various flavors and textures.

Let’s Eat Like It’s 1799

As the 2040s begin, chefs and farmers will have looked past monoculture crops to old plant varieties that have survived and adjusted to changing environmental conditions. In Colorado, this includes the growing of ancient grains (many gluten free) and diverse dry beans—including Anasazi beans—to be used in plant-based foods. The state’s vibrant heirloom apple (and cider) movement will continue finding and propagating lost apple varieties through organizations such as the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project, Apple Core Project of Western Colorado, and the Boulder Apple Tree Project.

Most Americans will still identify as meat eaters in 2040 even as they become increasingly flexitarian. To minimize the impact, the whole chicken, pig, cow, and lamb we still kill for meat must be utilized. The pendulum will swing back to nose-to-tail cookery, meaning home and restaurant dishes will feature pig’s feet, tripe, lamb necks, bone marrow, oxtail, cheek meat, liver, and bones. If you’re one of those people willing to try new cuts and species of meat used in global cuisines, the beef industry has a name for you: Protein Progressive. And it doesn’t assume your political affiliation.

Shall We Dine Together or Virtually?

I’m hoping diners in 20 years embrace communal dining, Sunday dinner, and home cooking and baking…but I’m doubtful. Technology will increase our tendency to live in isolated silos and not interact. Diners already want to eat their restaurant meals anywhere but the actual eatery, using drive-thru, delivery, and takeout. Look for device-free meals, feasts eaten in darkness, and tantric dinners in the nude to create socialization without resorting to virtual reality. And yes, Virginia, there will be eateries open in 2040 where you can consume cannabis publicly and eat a nice dinner even in Kansas.

Our ability to find a dish or eatery everyone can agree on will only get worse in 20 years. You can’t host a dinner party with friends when everyone is on personalized gluten-free, paleo, keto, and Whole30 diets. According to Accenture, more than half of US millennials are on a specific diet driven by ethics and environmental and health concerns. Add in Baby Boomers trying to boost their longevity, and you end up with something like the 3-D printed “sushi” being researched by Open Foods company. It adapts to each diner after careful analysis of their saliva, urine, and stool samples. 

They Ate Cauliflower-Crust Pizza?

By 2040, kale will have long since wilted into obscurity—replaced by tastier bok choy varieties and Chinese broccoli. Once ubiquitous cauliflower will fade from the menu from sheer boredom (although cauliflower gnocchi will still be popular). Our citrus fruit tent will expand beyond those sugary Cuties and mandarins to embrace the nuanced tastes of yuzu, calamansi, and the aptly named Ugli fruit. Blood oranges will be marketed as “raspberry oranges,” but still taste like grape Kool-Aid. In the virtual deli, cheddar and feta will be so 2030, replaced by artisanal Mexican cheeses including añejo (Parmesan-like), queso fresco (feta-esque), and queso de Oaxaca (string cheese).

Pass the Urfa Biber

I’m looking forward to that New Year’s Day breakfast in 2040. The United States will have a far more diverse population than it has now. My trend research supports the view that diversity and immigration only lead to more and tastier foods on our dinner tables. Have you tried ajvar (Balkan red pepper sauce), urfa biber (tasty Turkish dried chile), and amba (spicy mango pickle) yet?

Hop to It

Twenty-five percent of Americans are willing to try foods made with cricket powder, according to Michigan State University. Nearly 40 percent are under 40 years old. Only 15 percent are 40 and older. Locally grazed cricket flour for keto muffins and such is available from Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch.

February Horoscope

Jan. 20–Feb. 18

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

Feb. 19–March 20

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

March 21–April 19

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

April 20–May 20

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

May 21–June 20

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

June 21–July 22

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

July 23–Aug. 22

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

Aug. 23–Sept. 22

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

Sept. 23–Oct. 22

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

Oct. 23–Nov. 21

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

Nov. 22–Dec. 21

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

Dec. 22–Jan. 19

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

Dunedin is just across the bay but a world away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

California’s North Coast is where fishing enthusiasts can go after Steelhead.

The rain never seems to let up. The wet forecast is endless, and the ground moisture sneaks into your boots with every step. The trees continually drip with dew like a spring with an endless reserve. It’s no coincidence. The Emerald Triangle is geographically perched where the ocean meets the mountains. Tectonic plates continually shift and change the landscape like every wave that crashes on the shore, moving sand to its place like an artist with his paintbrush. With blue squiggly lines, the artist connects the mountains to the sea, representing the most erosive force on the planet and one of the greatest natural spectacles on Earth: the life cycle of salmon.

Pacific salmon are born in the rivers of the North Coast before charging their way to spawning grounds upstream. When salmon are mature enough, they swim west to the sea and fatten up. There, salmon live most of their lives in saltwater until they are ready to spawn, returning to the same river where they were born to die, leaving behind their bodies as nutrients for the trees and surrounding environment.

On the contrary, steelhead are a variety of rainbow trout, much like the ones we catch in lakes, rivers, and streams. But unlike those rainbow trout, steelhead also make a migration to the sea like their salmon cousins. Steelhead consume diverse nutrients from the ocean, allowing them to reach a size and strength comparable to salmon. They also return to fresh water, but unlike salmon, steelhead don’t die immediately after their pilgrimage. They either return to the sea again or remain in the river, making them the ultimate prize for the coastal angler. As the North Coast boasts dozens of world-class rivers and streams, all of which are home to steelhead and salmon, the region is a drool-worthy location for any fly-fisher.

Beyond the steep investment needed to purchase gear, a California fishing license and a special steelhead report card are required to legally fish. There is also a litany of regulations to follow depending on which body of water an angler wants to fish.

While accessibility to steelhead is prime on the North Coast, it doesn’t make the endeavor of landing a steelhead an easy one. They are considered one of the hardest fish to catch on a fly. It takes outrageous perseverance and grit to withstand winter coastal storms while patiently waiting to nab a steelhead—it feels like a lightning bolt striking the end of a line. By the time an angler hooks a steelhead, the fish has dodged every predator in the ocean, including seals, sharks, whales, and squid.

Setting foot in these rivers is to witness the power of nature while having a conversation with one of its enduring survivors. It’s hard to imagine a creature with more tenacity and strength than the steelhead. Their story and their home are what make swinging flies for steelhead the ultimate prize. With the fog threading the trees, the cool turquoise water lapping up against your legs, and the redwoods towering overhead, chasing these ghost-like fish is a challenge and joy.

Don’t sleep on this lesser-known cannabinoid that may help you sleep.

Sleep is a vital sign of health and well-being, and I’m an insomniac—have been for as long as I’ve been an adult. I’m also a magazine junkie, so every month I read another article about the importance of restful shut-eye and tips to help me achieve it. And I’ve tried them all, to no avail.

I bought blackout curtains, a white noise machine, and an eye mask. Never much of a coffee drinker, I cut out any remaining caffeine (and became less aggro, but that’s a different story for another issue). I avoided electronics for an hour before getting into bed; I did nightly wind-down bedtime rituals; I only got into bed when it was time to sleep; I left my devices in the other room. I even got my dog a heated bed that she preferred over sleeping with me. I tried all these things, but sleep still evaded me.

A brief period of reprieve followed my move to Colorado, as I began experimenting with cannabis as a sleep aid. If I smoked a little before bed, I’d fall asleep only to wake up an hour or so later when the effects had worn off. I tried edibles, which helped me fall asleep and stay asleep for hours. After a few nights in a row of some solid sleep, I remember waking up feeling rested and thinking I had found my miracle cure. But then my tolerance started building, and 5 mg wasn’t doing the trick. Then 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, and next thing I’d be lying in the dark, high and paranoid all night long. Even if I got some decent sleep, I was waking up foggy. For so many people, cannabis works as an invaluable sleep aid with little to no side effects. That wasn’t the case with me.

Enter CBD. A few years ago, CBD was nowhere; now it’s everywhere. Almost literally. Walk into a convenience store, and boom! CBD gummies by the register. CBD water in the refrigerator. Wander into Sephora, and CBD serums, body lotions, and moisturizers await. Drive down I-25 and you’ll see stores dedicated to the cannabinoid. Check my inbox, and you’ll be overwhelmed by a thousand unread emails from PR agencies and agents announcing the launch of a new CBD brand or the release of a first-of-its-kind cannabidiol product. And those are only from the last six months.

It comes in all forms: topical pain creams and tinctures, water, and wine. There’s infused water for pets, infused cereals for breakfast, suppository lubes for sex, and infused Flaming Hot Cheeto knockoffs for afternoon snacks. When it seems we’ve reached the CBD mania apex, someone somewhere thinks there’s another buck to be made off the craze, and CBD toothpicks, hair pomades, candles, workout gear, bedsheets, and pillows hit the already flooded marketplace. Ridiculous, ubiquitous.

Yet somehow, 35 percent of Americans in a Gallup poll last summer said they aren’t familiar with it or its products. That same poll found that one in seven Americans are using CBD products on a regular basis—a statistic that makes much more sense, given the countless articles and testimonials attesting to its power, painting CBD as an all-natural miracle, a wonder-drug cure-all for anxiety, pain, depression, seizure disorders, arthritis, anger, sleeplessness…

Since you’re reading Sensi, I’m going to assume you were not part of the 35 percent before you started this article, and I’m not telling you anything new. So far. But have you heard about CBN?

Cannabinol, or CBN, is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids that have been identified in the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are the two that garner all the attention, and they are the most dominant. A lesser cannabinoid, CBN was actually the first one scientists discovered in the 1940s. It occurs in cannabis in much smaller doses until the plant ages and oxidizes, which causes THC to convert to CBN. And it’s about to get its turn in the spotlight.

Actually, “nightlight” would be a more appropriate place for CBN. Cannabinol appears to have potentially high sedative effects along with a host of other potential benefits, the most promising of which is as a sleep aid.

Since the FDA classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug in the same category as heroin during the 1970s, researchers have been prevented from studying the plant’s medicinal potential. While that’s changing, there’s a lot of catching up to do, so double-blind, controlled studies and clinical trials have yet to be completed. But anecdotal evidence is in, and CBN is being touted as an all-natural cure for insomnia by cannabis experts and outlets. So, when I saw emails with CBN in the subject line hit my inbox, I didn’t leave them unread. Instead I reached out and asked to try the product being pitched so I could offer my own anecdotal accounts of CBN as a cure for insomnia.

Two months and a lot of full nights of sleep later, my anecdotal evidence is in: CBN helps me fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up rested time and again. I’ve incorporated the cannabinoid into my daily routine, and I’m feeling better than I have in basically ever. It’s amazing what a little sleep can do. A whole month with full nights of sleep feels like a miracle.

Don’t just believe me; try it yourself. Like every drug, CBN affects everybody differently. These two both worked for me.

MINERAL Sleep Tincture

How they describe it: For anxiety-induced insomnia. Because you deserve to feel good.

Formulated for those suffering from night time anxiety and inflammation, Sleep is a blend of calming cannabinoids and terpenes associated with sedation to induce a deep, restorative sleep.

High in CBD and naturally occurring CBN, coupled with soft aromatic notes of cedarwood, black pepper, and California pine, the Sleep formula is proven to help calm the mind and encourage deep, restorative sleep.

All Mineral products are organically grown on a small farm in Colorado that averages a limited run of only four harvests a year.

No cannabinoid acting independently will express the benefit experienced when consuming the whole plant, so Mineral utilizes the hemp plant in its entirety—stalks, stems, and buds—maximizing the omega fatty acids and vitamins in their extraction process. To keep the product consistent, the brand’s identified formula-specific seeds from Oregon that produce plants with characteristics incumbent to accomplish the targeted benefits of the products.

After sourcing the seeds from Oregon, Mineral supplies them to Waayb Organics in Longmont, Colorado, and Waayb leads the cultivation of the plants on an outdoor, seasonal, organic grow. After harvest, processing, and CO2 extraction, the products go through testing for cannabinoid sequence, terpenes, pesticides, and quality.

Editor’s note: With that much quality control, it’s no wonder GQ included Mineral on its Best Stuff of 2019 list and that Neiman Marcus picked up the line for its stores.

$160 for 60 servings,

Prismatic Plants Good Night Tincture

How they describe it: Formulated with CBN and calming adaptogens, this nighttime formula promotes deep sleep and boosts immunity during the body’s overnight repair mode. Its long-term effects include a return to a natural circadian rhythm, enhanced immunity, improved reproductive health, and more energy during the day.

Made with an adaptogenic blend of CBD, CBN, medicinal mushrooms, and organic herbs. The CBD, for overall health and stress relief, and CBN for insomnia relief, result from gentle full-flower extraction from organically grown Colorado hemp for a complete cannabinoid profile. Other beneficial ingredients include reishi mushrooms, oatstraw, and ashwagandha
for positive mood and support of the nervous and immune systems; skullcap for stress and muscle-tension relief; and valerian root (a.k.a nature’s Valium), California poppy, and lavender for anxiety and insomnia relief. Pure, effective, safe ingredients formulated to provide immediate relief and continually enhance health through long-term use.

$70 for a month’s supply,

History Colorado commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment.

When the decade that came to be known as the Roaring Twenties began, women had been fighting to win the right to vote for nearly a century. More than seven decades had passed since the first national Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, where the Declaration of Sentiments was written and declared: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Most of the delegates to the Seneca Falls Convention had agreed in 1848 that American women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities, but their country didn’t see it that way. An amendment guaranteeing all citizens the right to vote was ratified in 1868—but it defined “citizens” as white males. In 1870, the definition expanded to include black males too. For the next 50 years, women fought for the same Constitutional consideration. By the end of 1919, Congress finally passed a federal women’s suffrage amendment to the US Constitution, but it had yet to be ratified by the states.

With the 1920 presidential election drawing near, the decades-long battle between women’s suffragists and their opponents came to a climactic clash during the summer months in Tennessee. The state’s House voted to pass the 19th Amendment on August 18, and eight days later, it officially became part of the Constitution on August 26, 1920. This year marks the 100th anniversary of that milestone, which is now celebrated as Women’s Equality Day.

Representing Colorado

The last hundred years have sent women’s rights on a roller coaster ride of gained advances and continued hardships. The Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado 2020 (WVC) project in Denver and throughout Colorado, celebrated this year by History Colorado and the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission, is taking a hard look at those ups and downs.

Governor Jared Polis, History Colorado, and the Colorado WVC Commission joined forces to honor the Women’s Vote Centennial commemoration of the 19th Amendment. Festivities include a traveling exhibit about women’s suffrage, a guest speaker series, and other activities that celebrate a woman’s place in the polling place.

“History Colorado, in partnership with the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission, is leading the Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado 2020 initiative, which is a project to mark and explore the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment,” says Jillian Allison, director of the Center for Colorado Women’s History. “Colorado women were able to vote prior to that, so we’re also looking at that with our exhibit and events. Another major theme of the commemoration will be the many barriers to voting that women continued to face after 1920.”

This statewide initiative aims to reach every county in the state, so the Center for Colorado Women’s History is working with community partners such as museums, libraries, clubs, businesses, and anyone else who wants to bring awareness to the importance of the vote. A guest speakers’ series—titled “Bold Women. Change History.”—will feature humanitarians who have carried the spirit of suffrage into modern times. Road to the Vote, the traveling exhibit currently making its way across the state, is a look back at how women gained hard-earned rights. The exhibit’s visual history will engage both young and old.

“Organizations around the state are invited to participate and join in grassroots efforts that will explore the journey and struggle to achieve voting rights, understand the contributions of women in Colorado history, and underscore the value of our voices in democracy today,” reads the governor’s official statement about commemoration. “The Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado statewide effort officially commences a year of educational programming, community engagement and Partnerships.” There is a lot of official pomp and circumstance around this celebration, and with good reason.

“Let’s remember those who fought on our behalf, explore the stories of success and setback, and most of all, let’s continue to vote,” reads the group’s website. With slogans like “You shape history every time you vote,” the exhibit sends a strong message.

Next in the History Books

It’s serendipitous that this anniversary coincides with such a pivotal election year. Given that, in 2016, the American people failed to elect Hillary Clinton, an expected shoe-in as the first female president of the United States, this celebration is especially timely. It’s notable that 100 years after women earned the right to vote, a woman still has yet to be elected. Is 2020 the year?

When it comes to presidential elections, Colorado is an important battleground state, and it has long been an important place for politics. In 1893, Colorado became the first state to make it illegal deny citizens the right to vote based on sex alone—more than 25 years before the country made the same move. Colorado paved the way for the 19th Amendment, a pioneering spirit that still runs strong with the state now leading the way on issues like cannabis prohibition and protections for trans rights.

“We definitely wanted to bring awareness to ongoing issues when we launched the Center for Colorado Women’s History,” Allison says. “Our focus can help shine a light on the struggles of the past and successes of women—ways that they’ve broken barriers and made changes. If we learn from the past, we can make a better Colorado.”

With that in mind, the organization has set up programming to help highlight issues still relevant today. On February 12, the speaker series welcomes civil rights activist and author Carol Anderson to History Colorado for a discussion exploring the impact of gerrymandering, voter suppression, and how current patterns mimic historic struggles. It’s one of many events lined up throughout the year, listed on the History Colorado website (

“It’s only January 16, and we have already had over 100 events and activities posted to our community calendar,” Allison says. “People are hosting events that tie in with the theme, and we’re encouraging more people to reach out if they want to get involved. I like the simple idea that making your voice heard by voting has such an impact in our communities, locally and nationally. We can all get involved, and it’s really powerful.

Paper-engineering obsessives create the first pop-up book to explore the world of cannabis.

Collaboration is a wonderful thing. When my friend Rosston Meyer told me a few years ago that he was planning a pop-up cannabis book, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I knew Meyer ran an independent publishing house designing pop-up books in collaboration with artists. Meyer is a designer with a passion for art and pop culture, so I imagined his books were a modern upgrade of the old-school pop-up books I played with as a child—3-D elements and foldouts, tabs to pull and wheels to spin—but with a modern aesthetic that appeals to adults. “A pop-up on pot would be cool to flip through and play with,” I remember thinking. “I hope he does it.”

Photography Courtesy of Poposition Press

A few years later, Meyer came around to show me a physical mock-up of his pot-themed pop-up, which he’d titled Dimensional Cannabis. What he showed me was a modern art form I wasn’t aware existed. Yes, the book featured 3-D elements and foldouts, with tabs to pull and wheels to spin, but what I had pictured was similar only in concept. These were intricate and elaborate kinetic paper sculptures that painted a picture and brought it to life. I was blown away. So, when he asked if I’d be interested in writing the words to go on the pages before me, I signed on immediately.

Altogether, Dimensional Cannabis took more than three years to complete, with a total of nine people contributing to the final product published by Poposition Press, Meyer’s independent publishing house. A small press, Poposition designs, publishes, and distributes limited-edition pop-up books that feature artists or subjects that Meyer finds of deep personal interest. He got started in the genre in 2013, when he started working on a collaboration with Jim Mahfood, a comic book creator known as Food One. The resulting Pop-Up Funk features Mahfood’s diverse designs transformed into interactive three-dimensional pop-ups. The limited-edition run of 100 copies were all constructed by hand.

Since then, Poposition has worked with a number of contemporary artists to publish titles like Triad by cute-culture artist Junko Mizunoand and the Necronomicon by macabre master Skinner.

Meyer has been fascinated by pop-up books since he was a kid, and in 2013, he began concentrating on paper engineering and book production. “After making a couple books focused on just artists, I thought that creating a pop-up book about cannabis would be a good idea,” he says. “There’s nothing else like it in the market, and there’s an audience for adult-themed pop-up books.”

For Dimensional Cannabis, Meyer collaborated with Mike Giant, a renowned American illustrator, graffiti writer, tattooer, and artist. Giant’s medium of choice is a Sharpie, and Giant’s detailed line work is instantly recognizable. An avid proponent of cannabis, Giant illustrated the entire Dimensional Cannabis book.

Photography Courtesy of Poposition Press

Giant and Meyer met at a weekly open studio Giant hosted in Boulder. “When the idea of doing a pop-up book about cannabis came up, he asked if I would illustrate it,” Giant says. “I’ve been an advocate for cannabis use for decades, so it didn’t take long for me to agree to work on the project.”
Meyer began by sending Giant reference materials to visualize. “I’d get it drawn out, hand it off, and get some more stuff to illustrate,” Giant says. “He’d send me previews of the finished pages as we went. It was really cool to see my line drawings colored and cut to shape. That process went on for months and months until everything for the book was accounted for.”

The process of making pop-up books is called “paper engineering.” I love obsessives, and the engineers who put this book together, make no mistake, are the ones who spend endless hours figuring out the tiniest details of the folds and materials necessary so a water pipe emerges every time you open the paraphernalia page.

Photography Courtesy of Poposition Press

“David Carter and I started talking about the idea a couple years prior to actually starting on the book,” Meyer says. “The initial concepts for each spread were figured out, and a different paper-engineer peer was asked to design each spread so that the book had variation throughout.”

Dimensional Cannabis is divided into seven pages, or spreads, covering the cannabis plant’s biology, medical properties, cultivation, history, and influence on popular culture. The paraphernalia page features many items we associate with cannabis consumption over the years in America, from rolling papers and pipes to vaporizers, dabs, and concentrates—and that foot-long bong that miraculously appears as you turn the page.

One spread opens to the full plant, with information on its unique and fascinating properties. Another opens to a colorful, meditating figure with text about the healing properties of cannabis. One page is dedicated to its cultivation possibilities, basic genetics, and the differences between indoor and outdoor growing.

The history spread takes us back to the beginnings of the curious and long-standing connection between humans and cannabis. Engineer Simon Arizpe had worked with Meyer before and jumped at the chance to work on that one. “I wanted it to be Eurasian-centric as the viewer opens the page, showing the early uses of cannabis in ancient Vietnam and China,” Arizpe says. “As the viewer engages with the pop-up, cannabis’s use in the new world spreads across the page,” he adds. “We decided [to focus] on moments in time that were either politically relevant, like weed legalization, or culturally significant, like Reefer Madness.”

Arizpe feels like the entire project is an example of what can be done working with talented people outside the traditional publishing engine. “Rosston came up with an idea that has a big following and made it happen,” he says. “It is pretty exciting when people can do that out of nothing.”

For Meyer, who says he likes a good sativa when he’s working, the project was a labor of love that spans all his areas of interest. “Not only was this a great experience putting together such a unique book, but having different paper engineers work on each spread made this a real collaboration,” he says. “There have only been a couple pop-up books produced with a roster of engineers…Dimensional Cannabis is for cannabis lovers and pop-up book collectors alike.”

Untangling the Ocean, Get Appy, and Sneakers

  • A new book explores the evolution, style, and intrigue of the running shoe. Read
  • Here’s a look at new releases. Read
  • Colorado Springs will soon have a new place to party. Read
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and Coloradans aren’t off the hook. Read
  • Entrepreneur Dan Bilzerian, known as “The King of Instagram,” launches his next product. Read
  • Brand Costa del Mar found a smart solution for Florida’s 640,000 tons of discarded fishing nets and gear problem. Read
  • Our editor-in-chief’s hottest hits of the month. Read
  • An app with 2,000 trained listeners who aren’t there to offer advice or give feedback. Read
  • Don’t wait until Denver Restaurant Week begins to make your reservations. Read
  • Chuck Lorre to receive the Art Directors Guild award for cinematic imagery. Read

Calling All Sneakerheads

A new book explores the evolution, style, and intrigue of the running shoe.

In Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture & Cool of Running Shoes, author Brian Metzler delves deep into the stories and hype of shoes and brands that have made running cool—and certain kicks that are collectible-worthy. He examines every facet of this lucrative, innovative, and massively popular industry with insider access, following the rise and innovation of running shoes through major cultural fads, attempts at injury prevention, and techy experiments done in the name of speed and performance.

To research the book, Metzler went overseas to factories where shoes are built and into brick-and-mortar shops facing extinction. Adding to the wealth of shoe intrigue, he interviewed Olympians, ultrarunners, and other celebrities of the sport like Kara Goucher, Scott Jurek, and Deena Kastor, who add personal anecdotes around their own favorites. Metzler is a sports journalist who has tested more than 1,500 pairs of running shoes and has raced every distance from 50 yards to 100 miles.

Coming Soon

Here’s a look at new releases.

With the awards season in full gear, it’s also a time for some fun new releases in film and TV. On the big screen, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn gives new meaning to female prowess with Birds of Prey: The Emancipation of Harley Quinn opening February 7. This long-awaited female-led film will throw you into a seductive, violent tailspin that will feed your need for a strong badass movie, welcoming you back into the DC Comics universe. Releasing that same day is a dark and bloody indie horror flick starring Elijah Wood called Come to Daddy. In the vein of reviving the past, the film Fantasy Island (inspired by the 1970s TV show) will release on Valentine’s Day, and it’s anything but campy. Guests are invited to the most seemingly perfect island to live out their fantasies, but what they’ve asked for is dark and twisted and will push them to their limits. Keep your eyes peeled for the long-awaited remake of The Invisible Man, written and directed by Leigh Whannell. Opening February 28, the film stars Elizabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

Netflix releases Locke and Key on February 7, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You on February 12, and Season 2 of Narcos: Mexico on February 13. Hulu releases the premiere of High Fidelity on February 14, Starz releases the long-awaited Season 5 of Outlander on February 16, and AMC releases Season 5 of Better Call Saul on February 23.

Party With The Gods

Colorado Springs will soon have a new place to party.

Veteran-owned Red Leg Brewing Company is building an $8 million, 14,000-square-foot playground with a brewery, taproom, food court, and outdoor event center on two and a half acres near the entrance to Garden of the Gods Park. The new space for sips is expected to open this summer.

Red Leg founder Todd Baldwin says the project “cements our dedication to make Red Leg a permanent fixture in our community, not just as a brewery, but as an operation that all of Colorado Springs can enjoy and be proud of.”

Red Leg’s mission is to “serve those who serve,” and the company is named for the red stripe that Civil War artillery soldiers wore on the battlefield. North of Douglas County, its beers can only be found at Buckley Air Force Base.

Red Leg Brewing /

Heart of the Matter

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. If you’re thinking, Yeah, but not Colorodans, we’re fit folks, you’re not wrong. But that doesn’t get you off the hook. In the Centennial State, heart disease is the second leading cause of death after cancer, according to the most recent data

It’s American Heart Month, and not just because of the candies demanding you to Be Mine. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute teams up with The Heart Truth to celebrate by motivating Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease. This year, the campaign centers around four week-long themes: Be physically active together. Eat healthier together. Track your heart health steps together. Manage stress, sleep better, and quit smoking together.

Notice a theme? Together, we’ll figure it out. Because it really is simple. Get it together, get together, and move more.

As little as 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity—a brisk walk does the trick—helps your heart. For major health benefits, aim for at least two and a half hours a week, or amp up the intensity to a more vigorous activity. You’ll get the same benefits from 75 minutes spent playing basketball, running, or jumping ropes.

Can’t carve out a lot of time in your day? Chunk it. Try getting 10 minutes of movement a few times a day. Get outside and walk for five minutes, turn around, and walk back. Dance like no one is watching for three songs. Being active can protect your heart (even if you have heart disease), improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and give you more stamina and ability to cope with stress.

Make being active part of your everyday routine. Take a yoga class with a friend. Go for a walk with your neighbor. Do strength exercises while watching TV. Drop into a plank when you’re waiting for the microwave to warm your tea. Take the stairs. Just do it. Wearing Nikes is optional.

Ignite with Flavor

Dan Bilzerian, known as “The King of Instagram,” first built his empire using social media marketing. In 2017, he launched Ignite, a line of CBD products, which has since expanded to include vapes, drops, toothpicks, topicals, pet products, gummies, and lip balm. Flavor profiles include blood orange, lemon, cherry, lavender, and tropical fruit. Its all-natural CBD drops are blended with essential oils. Topicals are made with 100 percent plant-based ingredients. Its newest products are the 350 mg full-spectrum drops and bath bombs.

Available online at

Untangled Cool

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



By Stephanie Wilson, Editor in Chief

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come On, Get Appy

Going through something? We all experience moments when we could use some support. Some of those moments are life-changing, while others are a part of everyday life. If you need to get it off your chest, you need to get Happy, the app.

Described by Vice as “like Uber but for ‘Happy Givers,’” Happy connects you to one of more than 2,000 trained listeners who aren’t there to offer advice or give feedback. They’re just there to support you and make you feel heard. They’ll give you the space to speak openly, anonymously, for as long as you’d like.

February is American Heart Month, and the path to a healthier heart should be filled with warm-hearted companions. For every individual caller referred by the American Heart Association through May 31, 2021, Happy will donate a free first-time call valued at $24 to the American Heart Association’s Support Network, for a minimum donation of $50,000. So download the App now. Call, get support, and be happy.

Available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play

Photo by June Cochran

Taste of the Town

Don’t wait until Denver Restaurant Week begins to make your reservations.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Denver Restaurant Week—it actually runs for 10 days—kicks off February 21 and runs through March 1, during which time hundreds of top restaurants offer multicourse dinners for $25, $35, or $45.

This is your chance to sample local favorites, up-and-coming establishments, national chains, even spots showcasing the culinary prowess of James Beard award-winning chefs. The best spots started booking up weeks ago, so move swiftly to get one of the town’s coveted tables. Go early, go often, and if you find a spot you love, go back again and again.

While Denver’s restaurant landscape exploded in conjunction with the city’s growing population and popularity over the last decade, some chefs fear the market is oversaturated and underreported. And it’s getting even more so by the day now that Eater, everyone’s go-to resource for info on where to dine and drink in town, has ceased covering the Mile High. Without updated Heat Maps, how will we determine where to brunch?

We’ve got some ideas cooking. Keep an eye on this space.

Born to Entertain

Chuck Lorre to receive the Art Directors Guild award for cinematic imagery.

If you’ve watched TV in the last couple of decades, it is likely you have seen the name Chuck Lorre in the opening credits. Creator of highly successful television shows, including The Big Bang Theory (the longest running multi-camera comedy in television history), Two and a Half Men, Mom, and Disjointed, as well as the recently acclaimed The Kominsky Method, Lorre has had an impressive career. The Art Directors Guild agrees wholeheartedly, and on February 1, Lorre will be presented with the 2020 ADG Award for Cinematic Imagery.

“Chuck Lorre is one of television’s most prolific and successful writers/directors/producers,” says ADG President Nelson Coates. “[His] storytelling prowess as a showrunner is amplified by the significance he places on production design in the creation of the worlds his fascinating characters navigate.”

The ADG’s Cinematic Imagery Award is given to those whose body of work in the film and television industry has richly enhanced the visual aspects of the viewer’s experience. In addition to being one of the few showrunners keeping the multi-camera sitcom alive, Lorre also established The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation in 2015, focusing on supporting innovative and compassionate organizations in the areas of education, health, and the arts.

The ADG was established in 1937 and represents 2,700 members who work in film, television, and theater as production designers, art directors, set designers, model makers, illustrators, and matte artists. To learn more, visit

Rob Van Dam emerges as a visionary in cannabis, wrestling, and life.

In 2006, professional wrestler Rob Van Dam had just achieved the pinnacle of success. He became the champion of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), experiencing one of the most significant peaks of his career. He was riding high in more ways than one.

Van Dam’s meteoric rise soon came to a thundering crash. Later that year, while touring on the WWE and ECW wrestling circuits, Van Dam and his wrestling partner Sabu were pulled over by the police in Ohio for speeding. Van Dam never hid his love of cannabis and kept it out in the open. That night, like many nights in the past, the car reeked of cannabis.

“Back then, I was never careful, and I never thought about hiding my use of cannabis. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” he says.
They were arrested for possession of cannabis, and Sabu urged Van Dam to inform the management of WWE about the arrest. “I told him he was crazy,” Van Dam says. “I got busted so many times before. Nobody ever found out, and I could still wrestle.”

This time was different, and it totally changed the course of Van Dam’s life.
By the time the two wrestlers arrived at the arena for the evening’s matches, having posted bail, the management and fans knew about the arrest. The media had reported the event, and Vince McMahon, the owner of WWE, was so furious he walked by the two wrestlers without speaking to them. “I knew that was not good, but we were prepared to wrestle,” says Van Dam.

Later that night, McMahon calmly informed Van Dam that he would be suspended for 30 days, urging him to get some rest. Van Dam would have to drop the WWE championship that evening in Philadelphia. He would still have to wrestle, knowing in advance that he’d have to concede the match.

“That was so heartbreaking. I let my fans and my wife down. I just felt that responsibility even though the marriage was faltering at the time,” he explains. “When I got beat, everyone just started booing and throwing their drinks into the ring. I was getting pelted, and I was devastated.”

The next night, Van Dam had to drop the ECW championship as well.
This life-altering episode, while distressing, actually brought Van Dam’s life to a better place. He found himself with renewed passion while becoming healthier and exploring new avenues. Eventually he got his wrestling career back on track.

Comic Books and Pumping Iron

Van Dam was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he discovered his first love: comic books. He was a fanatic; he had to acquire every comic book with his favorite characters.

“They really captivated my mind,” says Van Dam. When he discovered wrestling in high school, he followed it with the same zeal as one of his comic book characters.

Fate intervened when, at the age of 15, he attended his first wrestling show by the World Wrestling Federation in Battle Creek’s Kellogg Center. A friend of the family and a wrestling insider who Van Dam knew as “Miss T” got him backstage access to greet the wrestlers as they exited the dressing rooms. He was so enthusiastic that Miss T encouraged him to begin lifting weights and to consider a career in professional wrestling.

In high school, coaches had encouraged Van Dam to be lean and mean. But he wanted to bulk up like the professional wrestlers he followed, and he switched to martial arts to gain flexibility and mobility.

He researched wrestling schools, and in December 1989, at the age of 18, Van Dam began to attend training sessions given by The Sheik, a top wrestler and box office attraction in the ’50s and ’60s. Van Dam was bagging groceries to make money for school and was thrilled he could train with The Sheik and still remain in Michigan. While Van Dam was considered smaller than most wrestlers, he demonstrated his desire, endurance, and ability. His parents were supportive, and Van Dam promised them that if wrestling didn’t work out in two years, he would change careers and attend college.

Talent and determination won him matches with wins in smaller venues. Van Dam understood marketing and would work out in the ring to gain fans. His popularity grew as he toured on the road as a wrestler.

“There was never a guarantee I would be successful, but at the time, I was having a lot of fun,” he says. “Still, there were many times I doubted myself even though others in the field would tell me I was impressive and had some great moves with my martial arts training.”

Finding Focus

The first pivotal shift in his life occurred during an event in Jamaica when Van Dam was 21. The match hadn’t gone well, and afterward, a group of wrestlers blasted him, telling him that he would never make it. It was brutal for him; Van Dam sat on top of a truck by himself and sobbed. He tried to find inner peace with meditation but ripped himself apart instead.

Ironically, to fit in with the same group of wrestlers, Van Dam took his first hit of cannabis at age 21. He had been raised in an era of the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs, which emphasized that cannabis was a hallucinogen and gateway drug of addiction and despair. He really didn’t like it at first but soon discovered it helped with his anxiety, eased his physical discomfort, and increased his mental clarity. He also discovered that other athletes smoked it. Van Dam soon became a devotee of cannabis and never hid it from anybody, including bosses, fans, and the media. He would give interviews about the benefits of cannabis and refused to back down from expressing himself. A T-shirt was created with his famous catchphrase, “RVD 420 means I just smoked your ass.”

Others warned him that his openness with cannabis would get him into trouble and ruin his career. “People need to know the truth. It is not a dangerous drug, and it can help in so many ways,” says Van Dam. “There was so much misinformation.”

Along the way, Van Dam became more determined than ever to become the best wrestler he could. He continued to travel up to 300 days a year, including overseas. His world changed in 1998 when he became a wrestling superstar with the ECW and developed a devoted fan base.

Van Dam helped to change the face of wrestling when WWE bought the rights to ECW. He suggested that McMahon develop a pay-per-view called One Night Stand featuring a more interactive wrestling event in the style of ECW, complete with the throwing of chairs.

As Van Dam’s career accelerated, it became more of a business than a fun way to live life. His marriage suffered, he broke his ankle (his first injury), and he experienced scrutiny and suffered fines with his open use of cannabis.

In 2005, he needed knee surgery and was in rehab most of that year. Van Dam soon realized he was on a treadmill and didn’t know how to stop. He wanted to take more time off but instead went back into the ring, reaching an unbelievable peak of success before the arrest in 2006.

After the Fall

Once Van Dam moved past the devastation of the arrest, he discovered a life he could love living while advocating for cannabis and other issues. He continued to wrestle overseas, hosted a radio show, acted, entertained, and spoke on panels. While he did get divorced after 20 years, he would find love again. Van Dam was invited back to wrestle for the WWE, which named him the greatest star in ECW history in 2014.

Today, he sets his own schedule and does what he wants to do without the pressure to perform. Van Dam is happier than ever with his soul mate Katie Forbes in what he calls, “his best relationship ever.” He enjoys his life in Las Vegas, including helping others discover the benefits of CBD and cannabis. He has attempted to retire from wrestling, but he keeps getting pulled back into the ring. Van Dam admits he still loves it.

United By Blue is saving America’s waterways one shirt at a time.

The urban center of Philadelphia may seem an unlikely home base for a powerhouse outdoor brand, but you wouldn’t know it from the success of United By Blue, an Philadelphia based clothier and coffee connoisseur. For more than nine years, UBB’s been bringing sustainably built goods to the city while driving positive change in an industry hardly known as environmentally friendly.

United By Blue’s name comes from its founder’s belief that we are united by the blue of the world’s waterways and share the responsibility of protecting them. And the company takes this responsibility seriously, committing to cleaning and protecting our planet with each and every sale.

Protecting Our Planet

Disturbing statistic: every day, 38,356,164 pounds of trash are dumped into our oceans. For every item you buy, United By Blue is fighting this tide, putting sweat behind its pledge by committing to remove a pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every product sold. Believing ocean waste is one of the most pressing current environmental issues, UBB is focused on confronting ocean and river trash—and tackling it head on.

To date, the company has removed 2.1 million pounds of trash from rivers and streams across the country. And UBB doesn’t farm out this task, instead hosting cleanups where team members and locals roll up their sleeves to pick up trash in rivers, oceans, and streams. It organized its first community cleanup the same week it sold its first T-shirt, and the brand has since taken the show on the road with cleanups around the United States.

These cleanup tours travel across America, stopping in cities such as Boulder and San Francisco as well as hometown river cleanings in Philadelphia. When it came through Denver last year, the crew removed 1,607 pounds of trash. Local cleanups give you a chance to give back to your Philly community. Inspired to clean a nearby waterway? Buy UBB’s $5 DIY cleanup kit, which includes gloves, garbage bags, and a guide to making a difference on your own.

Photos Courtesy of United by Blue

Shopping Sustainably

United By Blue is a certified B-corp and innovator of perennial favorites; all its apparel and accessories are responsibly sourced and sustainably constructed with materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and American bison fiber.

Its products are now found at 1,000 retail locations, online at, and at its new(ish) Philadelphia flagship retail store, which blends outdoor clothing, gear, and accessory sales with a café featuring fresh food, fair trade coffee, and seating for 50.

The UBB flagship shop carries everything from cozy socks and jackets insulated with discarded bison fur to responsibly sourced, sustainably built flannel shirt—and know your dollars also help keep the Schuylkill River clean.

Located on bustling Race Street, the flagship is (unsurprisingly) sustainably constructed and is one of Philadelphia’s first LEED-certified retail stores. Built with salvaged wood from an old Maryland barn and chalkboards from Philadelphia schools, every bit of the store tells a story. The shop also hosts social First Friday events and sells footwear and gear from numerous outdoor brands. A smaller, coffee-oriented location is located on Walnut Street in University City. The brand also hosts pop-up shops in other US cities.

Building Truly Responsible Gear

Despite being a brand that makes its money selling apparel and gear, United By Blue wants you to buy less. Its clothing is designed with timeless styles that are built to last, and it strives to make you a conscious consumer by offering reusable coffee cups, cutlery sets, and to-go meal kits to reduce the amount of trash you create.

And while using recycled fibers in apparel production is nothing new, UBB is ushering in a new era of sustainability by putting typically discarded fibers to work. American bison fiber is a rarely used by-product of the ranching industry, but UBB spent six years building a supply chain for the fiber—sparing it from the landfill and harnessing it as a natural insulation the company calls BisonShield.

UBB founder Brian Linton says embracing bison for a cold-weather insulation was a natural choice: “Bison don’t migrate south for the winter.” Like wool, bison fiber is cool in the summer and warm in the winter—thanks to its temperature-regulating powers—and it can keep humans warm down to 0°F.

The cleaned bison fiber is blended with wool into BisonShield, a fill that rivals competing duck down and synthetic insulations. Try it in the new Bison Ultralight Jacket, a down alternative that’s hypoallergenic, naturally lightweight, and after much refinement, packable.

Beyond bison, UBB is greening other popular gear categories like backpacks and flannels. Its Responsible Flannel is constructed from organic, chemical-free cotton with biodegradable Corozu buttons made from nuts and nontoxic dyes. Bonus: It’s softer than other flannels and softens more with every wash.

UBB also repurposes single-use plastic into bags, backpacks, and pet accessories with its (R)evolution Collection. From convertible totes to weekenders to toiletry-stashing Dopp kits, each bag is water-and stain-resistant with vegetable-tanned leather, and all are guaranteed for life. If a strap tears or the bag breaks, send it back, and UBB will repair the damage.

Photos Courtesy of United by Blue

Big on Benefits

United By Blue’s management team is also headquartered in
Old City, with its offices located just down the road from its flagship shop in its original coffeehouse location.

As a company, UBB’s guiding principles go beyond gear and trickle down to employees too. UBB believes in promoting greatness in employees and helping them thrive, not promoting outdated corporate structure. With a laid-back dress code and dog-friendly offices, UBB promotes productivity, not strict rules. Vacation is unlimited (yes, you heard that right), and every employee (full-time or hourly) receives product discounts, full medical coverage, paid family leave, and a 401K savings plan—all perks designed to keep employees healthy and happy.

United By Blue has quickly made a name for itself in the outdoor gear world, building the company with the belief that successful brands can do serious conservation work.

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

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

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

Earning The Title

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

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

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

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

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

The Green Miles

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

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

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

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

Find friends and save money in shared living spaces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why thousands of cranes are converging on Colorado

Love is literally in the air this month. If not love, perhaps lust. Or at least the bird part of “the birds and the bees.”

Put plainly, from mid-February through mid-April, sandhill cranes fill the sky, as some 23,000-plus of the tall silvery birds with six-foot wingspans descend upon Southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley on their annual migration. They come to rest and to roost—to eat, sleep, dance, and mate. And when they do, they bond for life, because cranes know how to keep the romance alive.

Each spring, the pairs renew their bond through a courtship ritual that’s not too different than that sloppy happy couple you see at Milk’s Lipgloss night: dancing, chortling, gesticulating wildly, throwing napkins in the air—or tufts of grass in the case of the birds. You know, rekindling their fire before taking off to go raise their young.

To which we say, whatever works. And this seems to be working for them.

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

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)

  • 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
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

T2 Dance Project: Versatility Dance Festival

Jan. 10–11
Dairy Arts Center, Boulder
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
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
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
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
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
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

Winter Brew Fest

Jan. 25
Mile High Stadium, Denver
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

Onesie Pub Crawl

Jan. 25

Tickets on Eventbrite

Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks

Jan. 31
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, Morrison
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 (, 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 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 “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, 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, “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.


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.

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.

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 |

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.
“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 Tanaka, 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.”

Tanaka 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 Tanaka.

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

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


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 ( “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 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 ( 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 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

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 “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 (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

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 (, 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

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.

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 //

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 //

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 //

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.