Black in Denver Narkita Gold

Black in Denver

I spoke with Narkita Gold about her Black in Denver exhibit in April of this year. Coloradans had been under stay at home orders for several weeks and I thought it was a great time to learn more about her amazing project. Whenever I tell people that I’m from Colorado, it’s often met with some surprise because and I love that Narkita’s exhibit literally shows and shares what it means to be Black in Denver through photographs and interviews on the topic. What’s so cool about the Black in Denver exhibit is the amount of publicity, enthusiasm and conversation it has generated since it’s inception. And, one of the coolest developments for this project is it’s inclusion in Night Lights Denver. The Downtown Denver Partnership and The Denver Theater District’s incredible collaboration that has art being projected onto the Daniels and Fisher Tower downtown and other buildings. If you would like to check it out, Black in Denver will be a part of the August display until Saturday, August 29, 2020. Showtimes are from 8:30-11:00 pm Tuesday-Saturdays. Times will change in September.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today.

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Grab the Book

Time to Visit Denver. I know you’re tired of hanging out in your state and I get it. If you’re willing to following Colorado’s COVID protocols, wear a mask, and stand at least 6 feet away from us then feel free to visit and use Time to Visit Denver as a guide on what to expect as you plan to visit Colorado safely.

Show Notes

  • Asking the question “What does it mean to be Black in Denver?”
  • Narkita used photography and interviews to get to the answer
  • Consciousness is magnificent…
  • Head’s up, Black people aren’t homogenous
  • I ask why this is a project that non-Black people should embrace and support?
  • She was surprised by the initial response and engagement online.
  • Feeling comfortable asking the big awkward question.
  • Narkita shares what it’s like to be a creative in a city like Denver.
  • “Creatives here in Denver, Get to Color Outside the Lines.” Detour303
  • We talk Groov3 my favorite dance fitness workout! Narkita was my teacher.
  • Narkita shares her tips on how to live here.
  • She advises to be intentional about community building

Resources Mentioned

  • Black in Denver website
  • Night Lights Denver
  • Instagram: Black in Denver
  • Be The Artist Book Thomas “Detour” Evans
  • The Ebony Yogini
  • SoulFlower Experiences
Giving in Colorado with Jen and Kane

Giving Back to Colorado One Facebook Post at a Time

When COVID hit, we were shown the best and worst of human nature. We discovered people’s fears, denials, and belief systems. We also watched people crumble under the uncertainty and some rise up to the challenge of the moment that we’re currently living in. The following couple show what it looks like to live with purpose and to show up when other people won’t. With people like the following couple doing good in Denver, I know that we’re in good hands.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

Listen to the Show

Show Notes

  • I reflect on how amazing the following group is and the difference it’s making in people’s lives.
  • Things can’t get worse? Can they? Why, yes, they could.
  • Jen and Kane Lezecki
  • Jen is a Colorado Native from Lakewood. Kane is a native from Broomfield despite being born in NYC. A husband and wife duo.
  • I ask them what they like about Colorado.
  • We share our thoughts about Colorado’s growth.
  • Keeping what’s special about Colorado special
  • The traffic sucks.
  • Jen wanted to save the world. She intuited that COVID was coming.
  • She shares the genesis of the group. The lesson-trust your gut!
  • What the group has taught them about people’s needs.
  • I express my amazement at how helpful the group is. We talk about what people are now needing
    • Needing mental health resources
    • How do I get this and where?
    • People are still looking for toilet paper
  • This group is so humbling and we’re humbled by the community members
  • I ask about how they’re managing their well-being
  • How can the listeners help our fellow Coloradans?
    • I ask about the safety protocols they’re using to protect community members.
  • What’s the goal for the community?
  • I end the conversation asking what they think Colorado will be like after this crazy moment in time.
7 Tips to Visiting Denver This Summer

7 Tips for Visiting Denver This Summer During the Rona

I was scrolling through Twitter and popping into some travel focused Facebook groups when I started to notice something alarming-people from other states were planning road trips to Colorado. My first instinct was to freak out. I didn’t stay inside my house from March 11 until May so that you could bring your Rona germs to my state. But, I’m a realist. The reality is that people are going to travel and visit other states. So, I thought about how I could make those trips fun and safe for visitors to Colorado this summer. Because let’s face it, your trip will be different this time. Here are 7 tips for visiting Denver this summer. Take notes

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

Listen to the Show

Show Sponsor

Need more tips and information to plan your next trip to Denver? Purchase the Time to Visit Denver guide today. Or, if you’re thinking about moving here get the Epic Guide to Moving to Colorado.

Thank you for listening to Square State a podcast all about Colorado. If Texas and California did shots together Colorado would be the result.

Before you begin planning your trip to Denver and the state of Colorado I need to tell you a couple of things.

  • Your trip will be different
  • Businesses have closed
  • Expectations are different
  • But, we’re slowly but surely figuring things out.

Traveling during a pandemic is tricky. We all need a break from reality, but the reality is the pandemic will follow you wherever you go…unless you go to New Zealand and that island isn’t opening up anytime soon.

Tip #1 Be Flexible

Be flexible. Because each state and city is approaching the pandemic in different ways. It’s highly likely that our rules here in Colorado may be different than the rules in your town and state.

Tip #2 Respect our Rules and Mandates

We ask that you respect our rules while you’re here. Be prepared to wear masks in the following spaces:

  • Grocery stores
  • Retail spaces
  • Massage facilities
  • Fitness spaces
  • Coffee shops
  • Restaurants

However, I’ve found that these spaces are doing a great job of communicating their expectations of their clientele in addition to communicating the steps that they’re taking to keep everyone safe.

Tip #3 Do Your Research

You may have heard that businesses are opening back up. But, things are different. Here are some things to anticipate and look out for:

  • Ladies, it pains me to tell you that there seem to be fewer public restrooms available.
  • Hours are different-Many businesses are open for shorter periods of time.
  • Some businesses have completely changed their business model or have pivoted a key area of their services.
  • Timed entries is a thing
  • Some venues are still closed or won’t reopen this summer. Water World is one of those closed venues for this summer.
  • Red Rocks is still closed at the time of this recording which is mid-June 2020
  • Some mountain towns or smaller country towns have their own set of rules and regulations and some may not be excited to have you there. Especially if you don’t follow their rules.

Tip #4 The Questions You NEED to Ask

Here are some helpful questions that you should ask before heading to a venue that interests you. Basically, you’re going to look at their website or call before you stop by. Here’s what you need to check out and ask.

  • What are your hours?
  • Do you have a patio?
  • What is the party size limit?
  • Can we purchase alcohol to go?
  • Do you have a bathroom available for patrons?
  • Do we have to make a reservation?

Tip #5 What to Bring

I call this the Colorado travel kit. You need to have the following items on you.

  • A water bottle-It’s dry here
  • Sunblock-Your skin will thank you
  • Face mask-You’ll need to wear one in most places
  • Hand wipes -Coronavirus!
  • Hand sanitizer-Coronavirus!
  • Chapstick -Your lips will thank you
  • Lotion-Your skin will thank you

Tip #6 Triple-Check Public Transit

Currently, RTD is operating on limited hours and patrons do not have to pay for service. This could change at any moment so you will have to check that as well. You will be requested to wear face masks on the bus and train.

Tip #7 Don’t Wing It

Before the Coronavirus you could “wing it” you know, just visit a place without a firm plan.

I would strongly discourage that as long as we are fighting the spread of the virus. As a resident of Denver and the state of Colorado, I want you to have a great time while you’re here.

But, I think it’s important to be candid about what to expect and what to consider while you’re here.

Things are different. They may be different than your state. That said, I would like to share what things have been like for me for the past couple of weeks as we reopen the state.

  • I’ve taken the light rail
  • I’ve gone to the Farmer’s Market-head’s up visiting the market has changed. Some require a reservation or you have to enter from a specific location and walk in a certain direction. No roaming around.
  • I worked at my co-working space.
  • I’ve hung out at coffee shops-Specifically on the patios
  • You can eat inside restaurants but I’m not ready for that yet.
  • Bars are slowly reopening and I’ve seen people enjoying them.

I’m finding that people have been pretty good natured about everything and that there is a very clear sense that we’re all in this together. I hope you enjoy your next visit to Denver and Colorado.

It Snows in Denver

Psst, It Snows in Denver

You know that time it was supposed to snow 1-3 inches in Denver and then it snowed relentlessly for the entire day. That was last Friday, but I want to bring up something that seems to be happening with more frequency each year-people being shocked when it snows in Denver. We need to talk because this topic has been weighing on my mind for awhile now and it’s time to get things off my chest.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

Show Sponsor

Brightside Ice Cream a dairy-free delicious ice cream made locally. You can pick it up a Nooch Vegan Market or even have it delivered. Pick up some gluten-free cookie dough while you’re at it.

Support the Show via Patreon

Grab your free guide to Denver and Colorado in the show notes as well. Support Square State one of three ways via Patreon:

  • $3 a month or the equivalent of a cup of coffee. Support the ongoing expense of producing the show
  • $9 a month to gain access to monthly giveaways of your favorite CO swag, job related leads, savings information and more.
  • $20 a month to share your business monthly with people focused on getting connected with Colorado local businesses
  • $300 Share your Colorado based business via pre or end-roll sponsorships on the show. For a 3 episode sponsorship.

Listen to the Show

Show Notes

  • I’m going to be honest and say that I’m completely baffled by the people who move to Colorado willingly and hate snow. Now, I get that the weather has changed, that it doesn’t snow like it did when I was a kid but…it snows in Denver.
  • Unless your job forced you to move to Colorado, or you have family that you are helping out or would like to live close to, there’s no reason for you to live here and suffer when there are 49 other states in the US. I’ve even visited 45 of them.
  • If I hear “Denver would be perfect if it didn’t snow” one more time, I will pull my hair out. You know what would be perfect, for you to move because we have more than enough people who are happy to be here.
  • They understand what they’ve signed up for:
    • Crazy snow
    • Cold in June
    • Hiking
    • Pot jokes

But, in all seriousness, I need you to understand why snow is such an important part of the Colorado experience.

  • We need snow to fight off droughts in throughout the year
  • For watering our crops, agriculture being one of the largest industries in the state.
  • Snow is a huge part of our winter tourism season because without snow there’s no ski tourism.
  • The largest number of winter olympians from the US come from Steamboat Springs, CO

What About those Snow Days?

I will be honest and say that I’m endlessly amused by the how quickly the City/Universities/and schools call in snow days. I used to talk about how when I was little it would take 20+ inches of snow to close things down.

For realz.

But, I’ve reconsidered my stance on snow days recently and while I still think Coloradans have gotten a whimpy when it comes to dealing with snow here are some things that other people have brought to my attention that are absolutely relevant.

  • We have TONS more people living in the state. Seriously, it feels like the population has freaking tripled since I was a kid.
  • People are horrible drivers here. They really are. They suck.
  • We’re not used to driving in snow in Denver. We just don’t get snow as often as we used to.

If you don’t like snow…you’ve got to go.

Grab Your Colorado Guide

How to Network in Denver

How to Network in Denver

If you’ve been wondering how to find and nurture authentic business connections in Denver, this podcast episode is for you. The other day I was working a side-hustle at The Outdoor Retailer Show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, it’s basically where people in the outdoor space show their new products, buy sourcing materials for clothing/equipment etc. and talk all things specific to outdoor concerns such as climate change and the impact on the industry. This was the third time I’ve worked the show and I’d met a ton of people running Colorado local business, creating cool products, and doing cool things. Basically, the kind of people I want to share, support, and collaborate with via my Square State project. One of the people that I worked with was a really cool guy who shared that he and his girlfriend were looking to move back East and we began discussing why. I’d asked about his experience living in Denver. One of the biggest issues was his inability to break into his field. I found that surprising but this is something that I’ve heard before. From other people as recently as the week before. But, one of those ladies was legit crazy so I think that was her issue. So in this week’s episode I thought it would be helpful to share how to make authentic personal and professional connections in Denver. Sorry guys, the ladies have a better ecosystem for this.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website About Your Favorite Places?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today

Show Sponsor

Brightside Ice Cream a dairy-free delicious ice cream made locally. You can pick it up a Nooch Vegan Market or even have it delivered. Pick up some gluten-free cookie dough while you’re at it.

Support the Show via Patreon

Grab your free guide to Denver and Colorado in the show notes as well. Support Square State one of three ways via Patreon:

  • $3 a month or the equivalent of a cup of coffee. Support the ongoing expense of producing the show
  • $9 a month to gain access to monthly giveaways of your favorite CO swag, job related leads, savings information and more.
  • $300 Share your Colorado based business via pre or end-roll sponsorships on the show. For a 3 episode sponsorship.

Listen to the Show

Real talk, I’m not a fan of the concept of “networking” as it brings to mind meeting people with a specific agenda versus just organically meeting people…because WE SHOULD BE. Humans are social animals and moving to a new town or living in a town changing as quickly as Denver has presents some challenges when it comes to meeting people. In this episode I’m going to give you some insight on how to meet people authentically in Denver, connect with opportunities, and hopefully jobs.

How to Network in Denver

Each city has a certain vibe when it comes to networking and making connections that move you forward personally and professionally. Denver is no different. What is unique to Denver, in my view, is the focus on fitness based activities to foster connections.

It is not unusual to talk about the type of training you’re doing for a race, the type of activity that you enjoy doing, or what ski pass you picked up to hit the slopes this year.

Tip #1 Join a Fitness Focused Group

Do you love skiing, hiking, biking, rock climbing, etc? Join a group doing what you love.

Currently, I’m involved in the following groups

  • Outdoor Afros-Outdoor activities for POC/Allies
  • Trails and Ales-The OG of Denver based hiking groups on Meetup
  • A ski and snowboarding group on Meetup-I always miss this one due to timing
  • And I take a Groov3 hip hop fitness class, my current fitness obsession.

These groups are a low-key and easy way to meet people with similar interests.

Tip #2 Targeted Short-Term Volunteer Roles or Side-Hustles

I love side-hustling at the Outdoor Retailer show because I am able to meet 100’s of Colorado local attendees doing cool things AND they are focused on the outdoors. This is 100% in alignment with the three specific areas of focus for Square State which are:

  • To share and support Colorado based products, programs, and businesses.
  • To create authentic and meaningful connections between newly arrived and lifelong citizens.
  • To normalize seeing POC faces in outdoor places.

So, Outdoor Retailer was a perfect fit for what I’m working on and who I want to connect with. Spend some time looking into opportunities to support programs and projects in your field and meet people in a low-key way.

Tip #3 Join Business Focused Facebook Groups

Sorry guys, but the ladies in Denver have a clear edge when it comes to having online communities that will support and nurture their work. Here are some groups that I recommend joining and I’ll mention if they are women only. I will continue to add to the list in the show notes as I discover more so make sure to check.

Tip #4 Start Your OWN Community

Sometimes you just have to empower yourself in order to get stuff done. If you’re struggling to find community, then create the community that you’re looking for.

  • Meet in free places
  • Use Facebook Events/Meetup.com/Eventbrite to share your event
  • Market on social media and word of mouth
  • Collaborate with local businesses in order to hold your event.
  • The Commons on Champa

Be proactive about finding the community that you seek.

Tip #5 Create Your Own DIGITAL Community

At the time that I’m recording this episode it’s February 2020. There is no reason why you can’t create a digital community for your specific area of interest.

You could grow that community and then host an in-person event at a restaurant that sponsors the food for your event.

Be creative.

In my view it’s actually pretty easy to position yourself as an authority in Denver and grow business connections. I find that there are fewer gatekeepers to navigate through compared to other cities. My final pieces of advice:

  • Be proactive
  • A closed mouth doesn’t get fed-let people know that you need help connecting with people in your space. People can’t help you if they don’t know that you need help.
  • Connect in ways that are most comfortable for you, don’t rely on networking events. Especially if meeting new people makes you uncomfortable.

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