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,

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.

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.”

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 Mizuno and 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.

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 that water pipe emerges every time you open the paraphernalia page.

“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 six 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.”

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Bright Side

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

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

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

Have fun with it, consider it art therapy.

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

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.”

On the Calendar: Southern Colorado, February 2020

Move your body and soothe your soul with events for artists, athletes, and aficionados. This month in SoCo, you can run a half marathon, toast to the jazz age, or celebrate Mardi Gras.

Small Mouth Sounds

Now through Feb. 16
Ent Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs
This play takes place at a silent yoga retreat and features “some strong language, nudity, and lots of silence.”

Mt. Carmel Wellness Expo

Feb. 1
Mt. Carmel, Trinidad

Blue Hands Festival

Feb. 1
Manitou Art Center, Manitou Springs
Learn indigo dyeing techniques, including shibori, at this workshop presented by Textiles West.

2020 Super Half Marathon & Game Day 5K

Feb. 2
Downtown Colorado Springs

Valentine’s Day Cards Event

Feb. 3
Library 21c, Colorado Springs
Make Valentine’s Day cards for a local nursing home.

Climate Change: Food for Thought

Feb. 4 & 5
The Heritage School at Trinidad State, Trinidad
In this two-day lunch-hour Food for Thought presentation, University of New Mexico PhD student Kevin Fotso covers why climate change is happening and what to expect.

Artist’s Salon

Feb. 4, 11 & 18
Anita Maria Fine Art, Colorado Springs

The Buffalo Ruckus

Feb. 6
The Gold Room, Colorado Springs
Veterans and their families are invited to this free workshop led by Pikes Peak Community College English professor and Air Force veteran Cindy Skaggs

Expressive Writing Workshops for Veterans

Feb. 7
Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, Colorado Springs

Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Feb. 8–16
Cripple Creek
The 13th annual event features spectacular ice sculptures (some climbable), an ice slide, and vendors.

Pikes Peak Writers: Write Drunk, Edit Sober

Feb. 12
Bar K, Colorado Springs

Monte Carlo Masquerade Gala

Feb. 14
Hotel Eleganté Conference & Event Center, Colorado Springs

Silent Film Soiree: Roaring ’20s Costume Party

Feb. 14
Pioneers Museum, Colorado Springs

Spirit of Prohibition

Feb. 14–15
Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Springs

Float Your Love

Feb. 15
SunWater Spa, Manitou Springs
This two-hour guided Aqua Cranial partner workshop allows couples to connect intimately while immersed in a saline therapy pool.

Red Not Chili Peppers

Feb. 15
Brues Alehouse, Pueblo

Space After Dark: Science Riot

Feb. 21
Space Foundation Discovery Center, Colorado Springs
Join scientists- turned-comedians for a hilarious night of standup about the nuances of their work.

Patti Mack Mardi Gras Party

Feb. 21
Stargazers Theatre & Event Center, Colorado Springs

Goodnight Barn Invitational Art Show

Feb. 22
Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center, Pueblo

Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off and Carnival Parade

Feb. 22
Soda Springs Park, Manitou Springs

7th Annual Black History Program

Feb. 23
Stargazers Theatre & Event Center, Colorado Springs

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Feb. 25–26
Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Springs

Sam Bush

Feb. 28
Ent Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs
Sam Bush has been rocking his fusion of jazz, rock, blues, and funk for more than 30 years.

Accessing Clean Water: The PFAs Story in El Paso County

Feb. 28
The Margarita at Pine Creek, Colorado Springs


Trashin’ Fashion Show

Feb. 29
Art Cartopia Museum, Trinidad
In this wacky trash-inspired fashion show, models will walk the runway in outfits crafted from upcycled and recycled materials.

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.  

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.

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.

Makerspace, Get Appy, and Poke

  • Pikes Peak libraries help you bring your creative project to life. Read
  • Here’s a look at new releases. Read
  • Colorado Springs will soon have a new place to party. Read
  • Entrepreneur Dan Bilzerian, known as “The King of Instagram,” launches his next product. Read
  • Our editor-in-chief’s hottest hits of the month. Read
  • Poke hits the Springs. Read
  • At long last, the beloved In-N-Out Burger is coming to Colorado. Read
  • An app with 2,000 trained listeners who aren’t there to offer advice or give feedback. Read

Meet Your Makerspace

Pikes Peak libraries help you bring your creative project to life.

You have a creative vision that’s begging to see the light of day. Trouble is, you don’t have the space or the tools to make it happen. If you live in Southern Colorado, now you do.

The Pikes Peak Library District offers makerspaces—areas within the library with access to tools, materials, and machines, including button makers, jewel-crafting tools, sewing machines, 3D printers, and laser cutters—at East Library, Sand Creek Library, and Library 21c.

All you need is a valid library card. Staff members are available to walk you through how to use the equipment and provide assistance.


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 /

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


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.

Bowled Over

Poke hits the Springs.

Poke, the traditional Hawaiian dish featuring raw fish, soy sauce, seaweed, and vegetables, has hit Colorado Springs in a big way. If it seems like suddenly there’s a poke place on every corner—well, that’s because there is. Here are three of our favorites.

Poké Bop
Sushi chef Tommy Hwang’s impressive menu of Hawaiian poke gets a Japanese touch at this fast-casual joint. Build your own bowl, choose a signature bowl, or indulge in a Poke-ritto, an oversize sushi roll that’s eaten like a burrito.

This Denver-based ramen and poke chain has an impressively varied menu including sushi, ramen, and tapas in addition to fresh poke bowls. Gluten-free options are plentiful.

Ninja Bowl Xpress
Build your own bowl at one of two Colorado Springs locations. If it’s too cold to go out, get one delivered.

It’s In

At long last, the beloved In-N-Out Burger is coming to Colorado.

Founded in 1948, California-based franchise In-N-Out Burger was the first drive-through hamburger stand in California, and it has a cult following of fiercely loyal fans. Over the years, Coloradans have watched helplessly as the beloved chain has expanded into Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah, just walking on by as if we didn’t exist.

Finally, the wait is over. Coloradans won’t have to travel outside the state to get their animal style burgers. In-N-Out will open its first Colorado restaurants by Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree and in Colorado Springs later this year.

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

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.

Learn hip-hop dancing or basket weaving, celebrate the Year of the Rat, envision 2020, and toss some fruitcake.

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

The Original Colorado Springs Food Tour

Jan. 5
Downtown Colorado Springs
Celebrate local chefs during a roving food tour (advance ticket purchase required).

Adult Hip-Hop Trial Class

Jan. 13
Dance Wonderland, Colorado Springs

Tickets on Eventbrite
Learn some new moves and get a workout too.

Chinese New Year Festival

Jan. 18
City Auditorium, Colorado Springs
Celebrate the Year of the Rat with dancing, music, demonstrations, food, and tea.

Frosted City Winter Market

Jan. 18–19
Colorado State Fairgrounds, Pueblo

Event info on Facebook
At this winter market, you’ll find more than 100 booths selling handmade goodies in the Palace of Agriculture.

Southern Colorado Largest Bridal Festival Wedding Expo

Jan. 19
Hotel Eleganté Conference & Event Center, Colorado Springs
Find everything for your wedding, from cosmetics to cake.

The 25th Annual Ouray Ice Festival

Jan. 23
Ouray Ice Park, Ouray
Celebrate the growing sport of ice climbing.

Utilitarian Basket Weaving

Jan. 24 & 26
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about baskets, including how to make one.

2020 Vision Board Workshop

Jan. 25
Yoga Olas, Salida
Event info on Facebook
Create a vision for 2020, learn about intention and attraction, make new friends, and eat burritos.

Fruitcake Toss

Jan. 25
Memorial Park, Manitou Springs
Fruitcakes will get tossed, but organic, non-GMO fruitcakes will also get tasted during a bake-off at this annual event.

Pikes Peak Writers: Writers’ Night

Jan. 27
Johnny’s Navajo Hogan, Colorado Springs
This is a place for aspiring writers and old pros to network and share accomplishments.

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.

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 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.

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 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 Fist 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.

Editor’s Note: Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is so much more than just a case of the winter blues. It’s a sign that our brains and our bodies aren’t in harmony with the world around us. Last winter, I was struck by SAD, unable to shake free from its cold grip until the snow finally stopped falling in June, months after my Florida-raised brain had expected spring to arrive.

I know for many, summer was brutal this year, with temps in the 90s lasting until almost October. Personally, I loved it, lay in it, soaked up as much as I could, damaging my skin to deliver dopamine to my brain. And then a winter weather advisory alert cannonballed into my inbox the first week of October, warning eight inches of snow would soon follow.

I wasn’t ready for that yet. So, I did what any sane Coloradan would do: shut my blinds, ordered the SAD lamp recommended by Wirecutter and some removable palm tree decals to liven up those blinds, and pretended it wasn’t happening.

It was quite an effective strategy. I work from home, and the snow was gone 24 hours later. By the time it returned, my light therapy would be well underway.

I am happy to report it’s working. My blinds are open, and I am loving the brisk fresh air that comes with the season. I’ve even geared up so I can bum a buddy pass or two and try to ski some powder again this year. (I grew up in New Hampshire, so skiing ice is my speciality. When I hit powder, my ass hits the ground. I’ll get the hang of it soon.)

Along with tips on how to combat SAD, 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.

Don’t be sad. Spring is on its way.

Stephanie Wilson

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.

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.

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.

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. Just one year later, our first Southern Colorado publication made its debut. 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


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. 

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.” 

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.”