Crush Walls

Crush Walls the Perfect Event During COVID

One of the most devastating aspects of life during a pandemic is the loss of unique experiences that make life fun. I feel this loss most acutely when I want to do something that celebrates the arts. The theaters are closed, concerts are basically shuttered for the next year and dance performances are now relegated to Dancing with the Stars which awkwardly enough includes Carol Baskins of Tiger King fame. Where’s your husband Carol? So, when Crush Walls started advertising that it was still happening I was so excited about it and this event continues to be one of the best art focused events hosted in Denver and rightfully deserves the praise that it gets.

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Show Sponsor

This episode is sponsored by the following book “Time to Visit Denver” If you’re wondering what it’s like to visit Denver and the state of Colorado during COVID, I’ve put together a guide on what to expect. If you’re not interested in wearing a mask, we’re not interested in having you visit. Sorry not sorry.

Show Notes

  • Denver isn’t a crazy city. In fact, it’s a consistently chill town with splashes of crazy energy. During COVID it has been quieter than I would like and it’s been a bit unnerving.
  • It also has been months since I’ve gone to a bar, attended a concert, gone to an indoor exercise class, or visited a museum.
  • Crush Walls, an annual mural event held in the RINO/Five Points neighborhood ended up being just what the doctor ordered during this time. In fact, Crush Walls ended up being the perfect event during a pandemic.
  • This year I spent almost 4 hours roaming around the streets of RINO discovering new murals. I found the murals this year to be an exciting celebration of futuristic energy, women as the main muse, vibrant color and political statements.
  • Crush Walls was a perfect event for 2020 because it was held outdoors. The only difference from last year was that 99% of the attendees wore masks and tried to be socially distant as they rode, walked, explored the allies and walls of RINO.
  • I love that this event is free and my only complaint about this year’s Crush Walls is that there was a lot of trash in the RINO area. It just felt like no one had cleaned that area during lockdown.
  • One of my favorite murals was in a newly discovered park, Rino Art Park, located one block from Brighton Blvd. I must admit I was shocked to find a new park. But the mural is incredible.
  • I love how murals as art has caught on in Denver and the state of Colorado and enjoy how these murals have democratized access to art throughout the city.
  • I’ll admit that I’ve already penciled in Crush Walls onto my calendar for 2021. Have you gone? Which mural was your favorite?
What Isn't Working During COVID

What Isn’t Working in Colorado During COVID

Last week I shared 9 changes in Colorado during COVID that I sincerely hope we keep after COVID is finally gone. I did forget to add one huge change that I’m loving which is that traffic has gotten better. It’s not as crazy now that so many people are working from home. In this episode I thought it was important to balance out the previous episode and share what isn’t working and what has to change moving forward. Winter is coming and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get concerned about several festering issues that will become even worse if we don’t dealt with them now. In this episode I will share what is not working during COVID. Feel free to share what you’ve noticed too. By the way, I’m recording this episode from one of my favorite coffee shops because of course my internet isn’t working right now.

* 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?

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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Do you like saving money on groceries, booze, and clothes? Don’t forget to download the Ibotta app, a Colorado local company, I’m a proud affiliate of Ibotta and have saved $100’s of dollars on groceries using it. Sign up via my affiliate link and earn a bonus $10 towards your initial $20 payout when you redeem your first savings.

Show Notes

Unhoused Coloradans

  • The problem is now out of control. It’s my personal view that everyone from politicians, to homeless advocates, and everyday citizens has failed this community. We can no longer accept this situation for so many reasons. I’m so frustrated with what’s going on that I’m looking to do a special season about this issue. Will keep you posted.

Lack of Conversations and Assistance for the Restaurant Industry

  • Last week I talked about the innovations and amazing new approaches that I’ve seen to the restaurant business model. However, the reality is that it has already snowed and we’re hurdling towards winter. Restaurants simply cannot be profitable at 50% capacity. It’s clear that the restaurant industry won’t be helped on the Federal level so I ask the following question: what can we do at the state level to help our local entrepreneurs have a fighting chance to stay in business?

Mask Litter

  • What’s the deal with all of the mask litter? I’m finding blue masks everywhere.

Litter and Tagging Everywhere

  • I will admit that this is an issue that has bothered me for awhile. But, it has gotten worse during COVID-especially in RINO. It almost feels like someone got bored and started tagging buildings for weeks. Also, the is trash everywhere. Literally, everywhere. I had an amazing time during Crush Walls wandering the area but I was honestly grossed out by all of the uncollected trash in areas that weren’t close to the dumpsters. Basically, the smaller trash cans and recycling bins were overflowing. Gross.

Our Local Level of Environmental Commitment

  • Given that this summer tied our hottest summer on record, things have to change. And, Denver being one of the worse cities around for recycling is disappointing. We need to get a lot more serious about the environment and after choking for weeks on smoke and crappy air quality I think it’s an easy issue to get behind. Remember, if we have no snow or rain we don’t have ski seasons or water for crops. And, for those of you who bitch about it snowing in Colorado-if you don’t understand the correlation between snow and no fires, snow and ski resort tourism dollars, snow and water to irrigate and fight fires with-you’re living in the wrong state.

Managing Our Community Members’ Mental Health

  • To be honest, I think the state and local jurisdictions have done a pretty solid job acknowledging that mental health is an ongoing issue in our state. I’ve added this issue to this list to make sure that we continue thinking about it and continue focusing on solutions related to mental health issues in our state. Sadly, suicide continues to be a huge issue in Colorado.

My Colorado App

  • There is so much coming at us that sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. I wish that the My Colorado App was given more publicity and that the website for the app was streamlined. I would like it to be as normal to use as the All Trails App.

Texans-Out of State Visitors

I’ve loss track of the number of locals who’ve complained about Texans and other out-of-town visitors to our state. In an earlier episode I mentioned that if you’re going to visit you need to follow our rules. It’s not our fault that you don’t have as many great public lands to access as we do. The biggest complaints have been specific to people bringing stank ass attitudes to our state and lack of compliance with our regulations. If you don’t like how we do things, don’t come here and got to Tennessee instead.

What's Working In Colorado During COVID

9 Changes that Colorado Should Keep After COVID

Let’s be clear, dealing with a worldwide pandemic was not on my 2020 Bingo card. The economic devastation, the stress, the confusion, and dealing with the constant craziness has been exhausting. In fact, life during COVID has been so exhausting that I decided to spend some time focusing on the changes in Colorado that should be kept after COVID is finally gone.

* 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?

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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Download the Ibotta App

Do you like saving money on groceries, booze, and clothes? Don’t forget to download the Ibotta app, a Colorado local company, I’m a proud affiliate of Ibotta and have saved $100’s of dollars on groceries using it. Sign up via my affiliate link and earn a bonus $10 towards your initial $20 payout when you redeem your first savings.

Show Notes

I will admit that I’m a glass half-full kind of person. However, COVID challenges even the most positive person’s outlook when it comes finding something good about the situation because there are so many aspects of it that are a hot covidy mess. However, I was surprised to find that I was able to find a number of good things about how living in Colorado and changes that we made that helped us weather the storm

The Initial Swift Response

When Governor Polis closed down the ski resorts, I knew that COVID was a big deal. Three cases internationally had been traced back to Colorado ski resorts and with the sheer numbers of international travelers to our state the potential for a New York level outbreak was huge. Let’s be clear, the 3 months of quarantine sucked and wearing masks suck. But, what doesn’t suck is consistently having such low positivity rates that Colorado is now one of about 9 states approved for travel to Costa Rica. It’s my view that other countries will begin reopening their borders to US travelers based on their state’s positivity rates. I appreciate the ongoing local response to COVID here in our state and feel like we’re in good hands.

Main Streets Shut Down

I’ve just returned from my 4th local staycation since COVID and one of the best, and I mean, the best changes as a result of this mess is how Main Streets have been closed down to traffic. Especially Mountain Main Streets, I’ve visited Breckenridge, Salida, and Frisco and it was like I was experiencing the towns in a completely new way-because I was. I no longer had to rush through traffic, work my way through crowds, or hear cars honking all the time. In fact, I spoke with several retailers in Breckenridge who said that they’d had their best summer ever. I’m not surprised. In fact, the experience reminded me a lot of what it’s like to be in Europe. We’re lucky in Colorado because we have a strong patio culture so I think it was easier to get people to embrace this straightforward change. Hopefully this will continue during moving forward from May-September.

Expanded Outdoor Seating

I love how businesses have rethought the spaces connected to their businesses. Let’s be clear, they had to in order to survive, but the expanded seating has been a wonderful way to experience many of our favorite restaurants. I’m still very reluctant to eat indoors, so having patios and additional outdoor seating makes it easier for me to say “yes” to going out to eat.

Alcohol to Go

I don’t drink enough to keep alcohol in my house. So, I enjoy having a nice cocktail when I go out. Now, I’m not going out. It’s so nice to grab a meal and a nicely made cocktail to pair with it!

Colorado’s Bipartisan Voting Setup

I’ve always appreciated our system of voting. Now, I appreciate it even more than before. The key to the system working and having faith in our state’s voting system is that it was a bipartisan effort and continues to be set up in that way. In fact, it’s clear that Colorado’s system of voting is the platinum standard in the US. I love it so much that I’m going to do a podcast episode about what it’s like to vote here from beginning to end because so many people have no idea how good it could be.

The Conversations

I’ve had a number of incredible conversations with my fellow Coloradans as a result of everything that’s going on. There is a real sense that we’re in this together, because we are. It’s been so amazing to meet more of my neighbors, talk to entrepreneurs, and hear about what is and what isn’t working during this time.

Business Innovation

Right now a number of businesses have undergone extreme pivots in order to stay relevant and continue bringing in customers. Here are some examples of new innovative approaches to business that I’ve discovered during this time.

  • Somebody People, a plant-based, restaurant in Platt Park has done the following:
    • They have outdoor seating
    • Weekly produce boxes that require a subscription
    • You can take home cocktails
    • Takeout
    • I think you can also pick up fresh veggies as well
  • Coffee shops offering coffee bean subscriptions
  • Farmers Markets managing the flow of customers into the event. I’ve enjoyed this year’s farmer’s markets a lot more because I’m not being jostled by a billion people and dodging dogs.

Support and Publicity for POC Owned Businesses

The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that 40% of Black owned businesses shut down during COVID. Having increased support and visibility for Colorado local businesses is a key part of their ability to make it through this financial storm.

Support and Publicity for ALL Locally Owned Businesses

One of the mindsets that I love in Colorado is the continued support and understanding that small businesses are the key to a thriving local economy. In my numerous conversations with local entrepreneurs they’ve routinely pointed out that there is a healthy eco system in Colorado from the business development stage to the moment when it’s time to sell. Resources such as:

What Isn’t Working

Let me know what other systems or changes that you think are working well during this time. Next week I will share some of the changes or systems that aren’t working during COVID.

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
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.