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T H E

B E S T

O F

C O L O R A D O

L I V I N G

Sweet Paris to Hollywood Wedding Dreams

Fashion at DAM

Trends

O COLORAD expression CELEBRATE MAY/JUNE 2021


A N O T H E R

S U C C E S S F U L

P A R T N E R S H I P

Michelle Gruber, AVP with father Jay Davidson, CEO First American State Bank. Edie Marks with daughters Elise Marks and Lori Marks-Connors, Kentwood Real Estate.

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CONTENTS

In This Issue

44

38

30

Out & About 12

Features 38

Sip & Savor 34

See photos from the Invest in Kids annual ski day at Winter Park and Mary Jane; a luncheon to celebrate the National Western’s scholarship program; the Nathan Yip Chinese New Year celebration; National Jewish Health’s Beaux Arts Ball’s virtual gala and more.

By Lindsey Schwartz

By Katie Coakley

When weddings get scaled back in size and locations change, couples and planners come up with creative ways to celebrate with family and friends.

Due to pandemic protocols, celebrations have had a different look lately and some of the new catering tricks are likely to continue, from food trucks to socially distanced party seating.

Shot in the Dark

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Bits & Pieces By Danielle Yuthas

Learn about the Stonehenge exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science; upcoming events such as the Governor’s Art Show; and fundraisers that include the Flock Party at the Denver Zoo and Craig Hospital’s PUSH Gala.

Small is Beautiful

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Catering for Couples

Bloom Town By Stephanie E. Richards and Jen Hardie

Set a pretty table and treat yourself and friends to an al fresco afternoon in the park with dishes and accessories inspired by nature.

Don’t miss out Stay up to date on news and happenings exclusively for Colorado Expression readers by signing up for our monthly newsletter at coloradoexpression.com

46

A Fashionable Legacy By Suzanne S. Brown

Cover Megan Stark and John LaCouture celebrate their marriage in Telluride. Photo by S. Lynne Photography

The elegance of old Hollywood is recalled in a Denver Art Museum exhibit tracing the style of Frenchwoman Véronique Peck and her leading man, actor Gregory Peck.

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Pinterest Vol. 30, No. 2, Copyright © 2021 by WiesnerMedia, LLC. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint or quote excerpts granted by written request only. COLORADO EXPRESSION (ISSN # 1070-5066) is published bi-monthly (6 issues/year) by WiesnerMedia, LLC., POSTMASTER: send address changes to Colorado Expression, 1780 S. Bellaire St, Ste 505, Denver CO 80222. Subscription questions: (888) 815-1436. Unsolicited materials will be handled with care, but the magazine assumes no responsibility for materials.

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CONTENTS

In This Issue 32

Business Spotlight By Danielle Yuthas

Newberry Florist has been familyowned and run for decades, remaining a top choice for elegant floral design and décor.

50

Landscape Design By Colleen Smith

Aided by landscape architects and designers, homeowners are enhancing their outdoor spaces with water features and gardens.

54

Colorado Weekends By Charlie Brown

With a new resort and attractions, Black Hawk and Central City are playing their cards right and attracting both Colorado residents and out-of-state travelers.

58

Great Escapes 58

18

Public Persona By Joanne Davidson

Body & Soul By Georgia Alexia Benjou

Two Denver women have launched companies selling versions of sleepwear that can be styled from the bedroom to brunch to happy hour.

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Nonprofit Profile For 125 years in Colorado, VOA has been feeding the hungry and offering housing for those who need shelter, as well as community support services.

Want to get away from it all? You can stay on your own private island in the Caribbean when you book a Cuveé vacation at this private locale.

62

Clem Connolly knows how to throw a successful event, a skill he has developed over decades with local organizations.

By Joanne Davidson

By Chad Chisholm

18

Facebook

24

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Curated

Twitter

By Stephanie Zaitz

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The owner of Signed and Sealed by Steph shares what’s new with wedding and celebration invitations, from the wording to the timing.

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Coloradans creatively captured what we love in healing, hopeful ways. Looking

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years, especially this past year. As we begin to reclaim the rhythm of our lives, we remain committed to the missions and our readers of both publications. What

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SHOT IN THE DARK

All for a Good Cause

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Nathan Yip Foundation’s Chinese New Year Party The Nathan Yip Foundation held its annual Chinese New Year party virtually, hosting a program of entertainment, online silent and live auctions, traditional lion dance and more. Some participants gathered for a socially distanced watch party at the University Club in Denver. Photography by Travis Broxton 3

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1 Auctioneer Reggie Rivers 2 Dr. Larry Chan, right, greets guests James and Suzanne Buchanan 3 Tarika Cefkin, left, and Mieko Nakamura delivered party boxes in Mieko’s “Cowbug.” 4 Guests listen as event chair Diana Backstrom delivers welcoming remarks on the big screen. 5 Executive director Tarika Cefkin with the traditional red envelopes that are part of every Chinese New Year celebration. 6 Elizabeth Caswell Dyer 7 Jimmy Yip, the foundation’s cofounder, distributes meals and party boxes to Julia Porterfield. 8 Jon Olafson, left, president-elect of the foundation board, and Jerry Brindisi. More photos for these events: coloradoexpression.com

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SHOT IN THE DARK

SATURDAY NIGHT

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Jane-A-Thon for Invest in Kids Help us reignite the DCPA with our first virtual Saturday Night Alive. Join us:

At the annual Jane-A-Thon held March 3-5 at Winter Park and Mary Jane ski areas, 282 skiers—some participating virtually— helped raise more than $262,000 for Invest in Kids’ programs for young children and their families across Colorado. Photography by Invest in Kids

MAY 24 Luxury Auction opens

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JUNE 12, 7:30PM Virtual show begins Featuring student, theatre & Broadway performers JUNE 13, 12AM (MST) Final bids! Auction ends 4

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1 Phil Thompson, Tyler Rigg, Heidi Hedger 2 Lisa Hill and Brian Sullivan 3 Sean Waters, Lisa Hill and Josh Minix 4 The group from PNC 5 Barry Strong, Michelle Yost, Randy Engel, Levente Sipeki, Eric Colby 6 Erica Ruge & Stefanie Hunniford

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SHOT IN THE DARK

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Boots ‘n Business Luncheon The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and National Western Stock Show united for a first-ever virtual Boots ‘n Business presented by U.S. Bank on Jan. 8. This year, the event brought a delicious steak meal to attendees’ kitchens as they tuned in for a virtual cooking class, networked and celebrated all that Colorado’s agriculture industry has to offer. The event raised money for the National Western Scholarship Trust, which supports students in agriculture, rural medicine and veterinary science. Photography by National Western Stock Show

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1 Paul Andrews, president and CEO of National Western, and Kelly Brough, president and CEO of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce 2 A Western lunch was prepared and delivered to supporters. 3 Brough and Andrews share a toast.

More photos for these events: coloradoexpression.com

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SHOT IN THE DARK

National Jewish Health’s Beaux Arts Ball The original Broadway cast of The Prom entertained those taking part in National Jewish Health’s signature fundraiser. The virtual event raised $3 million for the hospital and the leadership role it is taking in COVID-19 research, testing and treatment. Presenting sponsors John and Carrie Morgridge hosted an intimate watch party at the Sailfish Point Country Club in Stuart, Fla. Photography by National Jewish Health

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1 Paul Heitzenrater, recreation therapist at National Jewish Health 2 John Farnam 3 Dr. Michael Salem, president and CEO of National Jewish Health; presenting sponsors John and Carrie Morgridge; John Farnam; Paul Heitzenrater

Experience Central City Opera’s 2021 Festival in the beautiful outdoor setting of Littleton’s Hudson Gardens.

ILLUSTRATION BY SONIA PULIDO

MAY/JUNE 2021 COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM

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PUBLIC PERSONA

MAKING EVENTS SPECIAL IS HIS MISSION, AND WITH A BACKGROUND IN MEDIA AND A PASSION FOR PHYSICAL FITNESS AND SPORTS, HE BRINGS ENERGY TO EACH PRODUCTION

Clem Connolly

By Joanne Davidson

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COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM MAY/JUNE 2021

Photo courtesy @btyphoto

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HE’D NO DOUBT WINCE AT THE title, but anyone who has been to a National Jewish Health fundraiser knows that Clem Connolly is Denver’s greatest showman. Connolly, the organization’s national director of special events for the Western region, is known for his themed and theatric productions, including NJH’s signature gala, the Beaux Arts Ball. Event production wasn’t even a blip on his radar when he was a young man growing up in London, England. “My whole background was in physical education,” he said. He became a personal trainer and made connections with people who catered to a celebrity clientele in restaurants, nightclubs and health clubs. In 1989, restaurateur and businessman Mark Birley hired him to work at The Bath and Racquets club in London’s Mayfair district. Connolly had American clients at the club who told him about the fitness scene in California, and Connolly soon moved to the states. “Mark Birley made some incredible introductions for me in Southern California. George Hamilton was first to lend me a hand, by opening the door to his Brentwood gym,”

Connolly said of the club, where he developed a celebrity clientele. He also managed Bel Air Fitness, a Beverly Hills health club frequented by such celebrities as Cindy Crawford, Raquel Welch and Donny Osmond. Los Angeles is where Connolly met his wife, Tammy. The couple moved back to Colorado, Tammy’s home state, in 1993, where they would marry and raise a family. Denver received its first taste of

Connolly’s flair for putting together spectacular events when he added a VIP lounge to the Heart Ball, American Heart Association’s key fundraiser. Connolly was at the association from 2003-2006, and he also had his own advertising agency before joining National Jewish in 2012. Connolly has also been a field producer and marketing department staffer for KWGN-TV (now FOX-31 Denver) and worked in the business


GET TO KNOW COLORADO’S TOP PERSONALITIES

development department of CBS Radio. He’s also host of the Colorado Rapids’ Summit Club, and joins his close friend, National Soccer Hall of Fame member Marcelo Balboa, in what he describes as “an old man’s competitive soccer league” that plays on Sunday mornings.

Where do you call home today? Westminster. How do people describe you? Loyal, compassionate, generous, fun, creative and energetic. What is a surprising ‘fun fact’ about you? I was a celebrity fitness trainer for several years in London and Los Angeles.   Who do you most admire? My late mother. The most generous, caring, loyal and loving person.   What’s your favorite Colorado restaurant? Shanahan’s Steakhouse.   What was the last great book you read? David McCullough’s 1776.   What is your biggest fashion faux pas? Socks and sandals.   What is one thing that you absolutely can’t live without? The gym. Exercise has always been a big part of my life.   What was your last major purchase? I would like to say something exciting, but sadly, it is a costly leak below the concrete floor in my basement, which has led to an unplanned remodel.   What gadget can you not live without?

My phone. Cliché, but everything is on my phone. What are your hobbies? Soccer, playing my guitar, song and screenplay writing, exercising.    What is your most memorable Colorado experience? Being assigned as a field producer for KWGN-TV during the Denver Broncos back-to-back Super Bowl wins. I was fairly new to Colorado and found myself in the thick of all the action, orchestrating interviews for our anchors during the downtown parade and celebrations. My first taste of true Broncos mania. Brilliant!  

THE DETAILS Name: Clem Connolly Age: 52 Marital status: Married 28 years Children: Megan, 25, Kieran, 23 Current job title: National director, special events, National Jewish Health, Western region Hometown: London, England Website: NJHealth.org

What one word describes Coloradans to you? Friendly. What is your favorite spot in Colorado to visit? Steamboat Springs.   Where do you want to go when it’s safe to travel again? Home to see family in London and Ireland.   Are you involved with any charities other than National Jewish Health? I like to support Children’s Diabetes

Foundation, A Precious Child and Craig Hospital, among others, by attending their events. What did you do prior to joining National Jewish? I owned a small ad agency for several years, GPS Advertising. I created measurable online marketing and media strategies for clients locally and nationally. What inspired you to become an event planner? At KWGN-TV, I was invited to many events through the McCormick Tribune Foundation. I was intrigued with all the moving parts of an event and observed what was happening out of the spotlight and behind the scenes. My friends who worked on charitable events felt immensely fulfilled knowing they were making a positive impact on people’s lives. This really inspired and motivated me to look into it further. An event planner wears many hats. Please briefly describe what they are. Basically, you are responsible for everything. From the moment guests arrive at your event to the moment they leave, you are responsible for delivering a memorable, feel-good experience. Everything a guest or attendee is seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and feeling should be planned and accounted for. What part of event planning brings you the most satisfaction? Collaboration with my colleagues on our special events team. Witnessing everyone’s ideas, commitment, hard work, and meticulous planning coming to fruition is enormously gratifying. I love brainstorming with the team to bring new events to life. What presents the biggest challenge? Relying on things to happen that are completely out of my control.

MAY/JUNE 2021 COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM

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PUBLIC PERSONA

How long does it take to produce an annual event of such grand scale as the Beaux Arts Ball? Several months. Recruitment of honorees, co-chairs and executive committee, fundraising through sponsorship and ticket sales, and planning and executing the event is a long process. Can you share a fun, moving or near disaster story from behind the scenes of an event you had planned? At a formal event in New Mexico, I was assisting the speaker presenting awards. Moments before inviting the award recipients to join us on stage, I took a short step backwards to make way for them. What followed was flailing arms in an attempt to save myself. I made a very dramatic and epic exit, falling off the back of the stage, nearly taking the awards table with me. I reenacted the whole scene for my work colleagues to enjoy once guests had exited the event.

Photo courtesy Garrett Ellwood

The Beaux Arts Ball is known for its timely—and fun— themes. What goes into the theme selection?

Connolly interviews Drew Moor of the Colorado Rapids soccer team in 2020.

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It’s a creative and collaborative process. Ultimately, we look for an idea that is topical and timely, like when we did Gatsby, Wicked, Hamilton and The Greatest Showman. Our special events team researches what’s trending on Broadway or in the movies, including new releases. In addition, we research black-tie formal events around the world to make sure we aren’t missing anything. Thirty-plus ideas are quickly whittled down to 10. Our ultimate goal is to transport our patrons to another time and place, so it is critical that we capture their imagination, and deliver a theme that is visually, emotionally and musically captivating through great décor and entertainment. We dissect the top 10 ideas to make sure they fit our formula. Once we have it down to the top three ideas, we seek counsel from our décor and entertainment partners to see which idea rises to the top. The pandemic has had a major impact on charitable fundraising. How has National Jewish coped or adjusted? In regard to our events, I feel we reacted and adjusted very quickly and effectively. Naturally, a lot of events were postponed to a later date but we were quick to create new and profitable events. Like a lot of Denver nonprofits, National Jewish hosted several virtual events in 2020. What were they and how were they received? Back in April 2020, we launched a virtual concert titled, “Together We Breathe Hope.” We had a fantastic lineup with One Republic, Michael Franti, Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers and Clare Bowen, a Nashville TV and country star. More than 60,000 viewers in 57 countries tuned in to see the concert and we raised nearly $110,000. Over the summer, we partnered with chef Troy Guard to offer a

Connolly with chef Troy Guard, who National Jewish teamed with for a virtual fundraiser last year.

virtual cooking class series to benefit Morgridge Academy for chronically ill children at National Jewish Health. Each of the three classes was designed to be an interactive, casual cook-along experience with Chef Troy. He generously opened his home, restaurants and heart, sharing personal family stories, his culinary journey thus far and future aspirations. In the fall, we launched Driving Hope, an auto show and brunch set on the immaculate greens of the beautiful Sanctuary Golf Course. We showcased some of Denver’s most prized exotic, vintage and collectible cars. Can you see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, the day when in-person events can resume? Realistically, I don’t see major ballroom events for the remainder of 2021, but they will make a comeback in 2022, with a new set of guidelines addressing social distancing and safety parameters. Outdoor events will be very appealing this summer and fall. Joanne Davidson is a frequent contributor to Colorado Expression.


NONPROFIT PROFILE

FOR 125 YEARS, THE ORGANIZATION HAS HELPED THOSE IN NEED OF HOUSING, NOURISHMENT AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES. LAST YEAR, IT SERVED MORE THAN 150,000 PEOPLE.

Volunteers of America Colorado

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THE PANDEMIC PUT A TREMENDOUS strain on nonprofit organizations, and Volunteers of America Colorado was no exception. Yet thanks to a dedicated staff and 18,037 volunteers, VOA has been able to continue—albeit with some tweaks— the services upon which so many Coloradans depend. Or, as marketing and public relations director Vanessa Clark said, “We’ve come up with some very creative ways to carry on.” VOA’s start came on March 8, 1896, when Ballington and Maud Booth stood before a large crowd in the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City and announced they were launching a faith-based movement to nurse the sick, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and visit those in prison. Ballington, whose parents founded the Salvation Army in London in 1865, and Maud, daughter of an Anglican rector, named it God’s American Volunteers. Ballington’s father had dispatched the couple to America in 1887 to become national commanders of the Salvation Army, but they severed ties with it after Ballington grew

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Photos: Volunteers of America

By Joanne Davidson

VOA Colorado supports diverse populations through its 51 programs.

resentful of his father’s autocratic manner and insistence that funds from American donors be used to support the Salvation Army’s work in the British Empire. Shortly after its founding, God’s American Volunteers was renamed Volunteers of America as the Booths— along with a nationwide network of volunteers and support including the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller and William Jennings Bryan—vowed to “spread justice and compassion amidst poverty and pain by going wherever we are needed and do whatever comes to hand.” Volunteers of America Colorado also began 125 years ago, providing aid to those in need in Boulder,

Leadville, Pueblo and Denver. In the fiscal year ending June 31, 2020, more than 154,000 Coloradans were served by the 51 VOA programs that continue Ballington Booth’s belief that VOA’s work “isn’t all about bread and shelter. The underprivileged, the weak and the unfortunate need more. They need sympathy, the warmth of fellowship and the instilling of courage.” In Colorado, said president and chief executive officer Dave Schunk, “VOA supports many diverse populations by addressing their unmet needs through programs that empower them to become self-sufficient and reach their full potential.” Even—or especially—in a year like


AN INSIDE LOOK AT LOCAL NONPROFITS

2020. It was a year when COVID-19 brought a halt to in-person fundraising events such as Western Fantasy, Service with Style and Red Wine & Seafood, which are usually key sources of income for the organization that operates on a $30 million annual budget. Western Fantasy persevered by pivoting to a virtual event in 2020, bringing in $750,000, down from 2019’s $1.3 million. “From the pandemic to riots to wildfires, 2020 was a relentless year,” Schunk said, adding, “I was struck by the resiliency and the generosity of a community beaten down but not broken. The hearts of our sacrificial donors, volunteers and employees were stronger and that spirit of determination was remarkable to witness and serve alongside.” VOA Colorado operates, he said, with the belief that “Unique challenges require unique and thoughtful solutions. Our programs across Colorado look different because each community is distinct. We recognize the senior who needs assistance with her grocery shopping in Fort Collins and the student in Aurora who has never been to summer camp. We support Denver’s homeless veterans who have been underserved, and prepare preschoolers challenged by poverty to be successful in elementary school and beyond.” VOA programs fall into four categories: housing and shelter, hunger services, volunteer services and community support services. Each, Schunk said, is designed to “touch the mind, body, heart and ultimately, the spirit of those we serve.”

and deliver them to each recipient. Pre-pandemic, the volunteers often would go inside to chat with the recipients, which is almost as important as the meal itself because the volunteers were a true lifeline for the homebound seniors. Often, they were the only person-to-person contact they had. But with COVID, we are masked up, knock and step away as the recipient takes his or her meal. We don’t go inside.” Sinton also said that the pandemic brought a switch for Meals on Wheels volunteers. “Since a lot of our volunteers are older and thus more at risk for the virus, many of them dropped out. But then we were inundated with younger people who weren’t working and were looking for

FILLING TUMMIES AND SOULS

something meaningful to occupy their time.” In addition to Meals on Wheels, VOA operates City Harvest, a food recovery program benefiting local food banks and pantries, and 29 dining sites throughout the metro Denver area. With in-person dining paused because of COVID-19, those who are hungry can pick up a prepackaged to-go meal.

“Our oldest and best-known program is Meals on Wheels,” said Lindi Sinton, VOA’s vice president of program operations. “Over the course of a year, our volunteers deliver 2,300 meals per day to homebound seniors. Our drivers take the packaged meals to designated drop-off sites where volunteers load them into their cars

A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS VOA is the largest provider of affordable housing in the state, Sinton said. “We meet our clients at all stages of their housing needs, whether they be seniors, veterans or families.” Options include five homeless shelters (three in Denver and two in Durango); emergency housing for families at the Family Motel on West Colfax Avenue; adaptive units at the Gerard Place Apartments for those with disabilities; and permanent accommodations at the 71 apartments in the Boulevard One Residences in Denver’s Lowry neighborhood. There, low-income individuals like single mom Alycia (whose last name is not being used at her request) can live in a safe place with nearby services. Alycia not only has a roof over her head, but a job as a peer navigator at the Denver Public Library, where she helps others in her former situation find work and other resources.

LENDING A HELPING HAND

The Details Volunteers of America Colorado 2660 Larimer St. Denver 80205 303-297-0408 voacolorado.org

Helping people to thrive is a top priority for VOA, and whether it’s providing counseling to vets at the Bill Daniels Veteran Services Center or sending out handyman volunteers to help seniors make small but essential repairs to their homes, VOA gets the job done. When its Early Childhood Education Center in Denver’s Westwood neighborhood had to close because of the pandemic, staffers there were quick to see that not only were the kids missing out on their schooling, they also were missing out on meals. And so began the Friday drive-through food pick-ups that are now open to the entire neighborhood, not just the ECE Center families. Joanne Davidson was introduced to Volunteers of America in 1994, when Sharon Magness Blake and Jean Galloway met with her to discuss their plans for establishing what would become VOA Colorado’s signature event, Western Fantasy.

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CURATED

RADO COLO ARE TS SH EXPER N TIPS O THEIR O LIFE T LIVING T ULLES THE F

Memorable Occasions Start with the Invitation An invitation sets the tone for an event, whether it’s a wedding, a bar or bat mitzvah, anniversary or another type of celebration. At a time when so much of the correspondence we receive is online, getting an invitation in the mail makes guests excited to attend an event. Here are some ways people are personalizing their messages.

By Stephanie Zaitz

01. Tried and true For weddings, while every couple wants something different, the multipart invitation continues to be popular. It includes the invitation, response set and outer envelope. Wording your invitation uniquely to make it your own is key.

02. Customize it Color and a variety of materials make invitations personal. Fashion is an influence, as is tie dye, ombre´ effects and watercolor liners—in both stationery and invitations. Deckle-edge paper is popular as well. We also have printed invitations on eco-friendly cotton paper, wood, suede, metal, acrylic; you name it.

THE DETAILS Stephanie Zaitz, who has a BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from the University of Denver, worked as a retail buyer at Neiman Marcus before starting her custom stationery business in 2007. Signed and Sealed by Steph was conceptualized during her graduate years. She has been the recipient of eight ICON awards for best invitation. She works by appointment. Contact her at signedandsealedbysteph.com or 303-955-4249.

Signed and Sealed by Steph combined suede and wood grain papers for a holiday card and invitation. Custom origami wrapped the holiday card in beautifully created folds.

03. Think outside of the box—or envelope For a golf-themed weekend, we sent guests a customized golf ball printed with the details of the events. The ball sat inside a leather box lined in turf and tees. For a milestone anniversary party, we sent fresh homemade cookies to the attendees. We have even wrapped an invitation in origami rather than a standard envelope.

04. The Timeline Send save-the-date notices at least

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COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM MAY/JUNE 2021

six months in advance, whether you’re doing it via email or through the post office. Wedding invitations should go out 10 weeks before the event. We enjoy the creative process and are task-oriented to make sure invitations are sent in a timely manner.

05. Don’t forget thank-you notes Couples will typically order stationery that matches the theme of the invitation. A great look is printing a monogram on the same paper and in similar colors as the invitation.


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What’s Happening in the West By Danielle Yuthas

FLOCK PARTY

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Photo: Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra

THE DENVER ZOO IS CELEBRATING 125 years on June 26 with a socially-distanced, in-person Flock Party on the 84-acre campus at 2300 Steele St. All-inclusive tickets provide food, libations and performances from the Colorado Symphony, as well as animal experiences. Proceeds will help build a new home for the beloved flamingos. Tickets are available at denverzoo.org/events/flock-party/

A Virtual Evening in Cuba The Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra on May 26 presents an evening with Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán, who is a classical and jazz recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator and performer of his own jazz compositions. The evening includes a performance, discussion and an optional Cuban-themed dinner and cocktail mixer, which can be delivered to Boulder, Louisville and Lafayette residents or made available for pick up at Zucca, 808 Main St. in Louisville. Visit boulderphil.org/event/aldolopezgavilan for more information.

Governor’s

The 30th Colorado Governor’s Art Show and Sale will be held May 22 through June 27. Works from more than 60 Colorado artists will be on display at the Loveland Museum at 503 N. Lincoln Ave. and will be available for sale on-site and online at governorsartshow.org. The exhibit of original sculptures, mixed media art and oil, pastel and watercolor paintings is hosted by the Loveland and Thompson Valley Rotary Clubs. Proceeds will provide scholarships for local art students and also will benefit the Thompson Education Foundation’s Homelessness Assistance fund.

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Photo: Danny Dodge for Governor’s Art Show

ART SHOW AND SALE


BITS & PIECES

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Photos: Team Player Productions

PREMIUM BEERS FOR SAMPLING and scenic mountain views are in store for suds lovers who attend the Vail Craft Beer Classic June 25-26. Team Player Productions, producers of the festival, promises an intimate, all-inclusive sampling event with no crowds or lines. There will be four Toast of Vail sessions at the park adjacent to the Ford Sculpture Garden

Vail Craft Beer Classic and Betty Ford Alpine Gardens on June 25, 2-4 p.m. and 5-7 p.m., and June 26, 12-2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. All-day passes are available for those wanting to attend both sessions on

the same day. Each session is limited to 250 guests to allow for social distancing. Tickets are $49 per session, or $89 for an all-day pass. vailbeer.com

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BITS & PIECES

What’s Happening in the West

Photos: Suzanne S. Brown

Guests get ready to saddle up.

Horseback riding is a favorite activity at the ranch.

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C LAZY U RANCH, COLORADO’S luxury dude ranch in Granby, has recovered from the devastating East Troublesome Fire in which guests, staff and 225 horses were evacuated safely from the more than 8,500-acre property. The ranch is open and has been refreshed with new furnishings, linens, paint and reclaimed flooring in each of the cabins. In its 102nd year, C Lazy U Ranch continues to extend legendary Western hospitality and welcomes guests to a variety of family-friendly experiences,

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COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM MAY/JUNE 2021

Cowboy coffee is a morning tradition at C Lazy U.

See You at C Lazy U including horseback riding, nightly entertainment, a spa, fly fishing, swimming, tennis, mountain biking, hiking, yoga, a zip line, ropes course, trap shooting, archery, hatchet throwing, jeep tours and more. C

Lazy U offers events and packages throughout the year, including for Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends as well as adult-only and women-only days. clazyu.com


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What’s Happening in the West Saturday Night

ALIVE

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

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VIEW 400 ORIGINAL ARTIFACTS and learn about the science behind the 5,000-year-old Stonehenge monument at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science through Sept. 6. Learn about the ancient landscape, how people in the area lived, the construction and history of the iconic monument in Wiltshire, England. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom and a World Heritage Site described as

inspiring, magical and sacred. “What is truly remarkable is the depth of knowledge we now have regarding what the silent and massive stones tell us,” said George Sparks, president and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. “With the use of cutting-edge technology, we now have answers to questions that have mystified for literally thousands of years.” For dated, timed admission, reserve tickets at secure1.dmns.org.

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IN ITS 40TH YEAR, THE SHOW must go on for Saturday Night Alive, the fundraiser for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The June 12 event will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person attendance with 175 guests in the Wolf Theater and 175 guests in the Seawell Ballroom. The evening offers an online auction, three-course meal, performances by entertainers and the presentation of the Daniel L. Ritchie Spotlight Award. Visit denvercenter.org/News-Center for tickets and information.

Photo: Peter Hurley

STONEHENGE

Norm Lewis is one of the entertainers for Saturday Night Alive.

Horsing Around Corinne Joy Brown offers six fun and easy horse-centric art projects for middle-grade students in her new book, “Awesome Art Activities for Horse Lovin’ Kids.” Volume one of the two-part series offers opportunities for self-expression, educational art history and something new to do at home as a family. As a horse owner from childhood and teacher by profession, Brown brings her passion for drawing horses to children 10 and up in a creative, step-by-step format. corinnejoybrown.com

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BITS & PIECES

THANK YOU TO OUR 20202021 EXECUTIVE LUNCHEON SPONSORS JFS is honored to recognize our top sponsors' commitment and continued support after the event was canceled. Your contributions help our COVID response efforts, serving thousands of Coloradans in need. We are so grateful, thank you.

PUSH Gala for Craig Hospital Join a virtual celebration of inspiration, an auction and opportunities to get involved with the Craig Hospital community on June 26. The preshow begins at 6:45 p.m. and the main event will be held at 7 p.m. To get complimentary tickets or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit craighospital.org/ events/2021-push-gala. Proceeds will fund programs, like therapeutic recreation, adaptive technology, music therapy, community reintegration, education and research to help those suffering from spinal cord and traumatic brain injury.

Julie and Brent Morse Kris Family Fund

Jane E. and Stanton z"l Rosenbaum

Harvard Communities and Berkeley Homes

Mindy Levy Peckar and Steven Peckar

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The Ernest S. Madison Family Foundation

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Flower Power For seven decades, Newberry Brothers has stayed on top of floral trends

THE WARM WEATHER AND NEW growth of spring are not only breathing life back into flowers and plants, but also to the entire floral industry. The pent-up demand from having to sit out so many celebrations during the pandemic is fueling the festivities and everyone is ready for a good party as soon as it is safe to revel. The spike in engagement ring purchases in 2020 ushered in a surplus of newly engaged couples, uncertain about wedding plans in 2021. For some, it was an appropriate time to scale back the guest list to an intimate outdoor affair and make the best of the situation, while freeing up funds for designer gowns, added décor or furnishing their home. Others chose to postpone until a larger number of guests felt more comfortable attending and now these weddings are beginning to fill social calendars for the rest of the year. The focal point we expect to see in celebrations all year is florals. The color, texture and fragrance set the mood, liven up the party and express emotions. The trend that is bouncing back in a big

THE DETAILS Newberry Brothers 5301 Leetsdale Dr. Denver, CO 80246 303-322-0443 newberrybrothers.com

32 COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM MAY/JUNE 2021

Photos courtesy of Jessica Lorren

By Danielle Yuthas

White, ivory and blush-toned flowers are popular for both bouquets and table arrangements, according to Paula Newberry-Arnold of Newberry Brothers.

way is to create not only flower arrangements, but also statement pieces made of flowers, such as a full flower wall or floral chandeliers. According to Paula NewberryArnold of Denver florist Newberry Brothers, brides are gravitating to natural elements and greenery mixed in with florals. “Brides are moving away from symmetrical pavé arrangements of roses like we used to see in glam weddings and toward natural florals with more movement and whimsy,” she said. “With all of the shifts these couples are making, these

brides still want the centerpieces of their dreams.” The romantic, dainty and airy ranunculus and anemones are being upgraded from filler flower to center blossom. The emphasis is on texture, and floral designers are adding elements like amaranthus and eucalyptus to the mix to keep it interesting. Newberry-Arnold said that white, ivory and touches of blush are still the most popular bouquet colors. Peaches and burgundies are expected to integrate in by fall. Even though floral décor is big, “brides want understated


INSIDE COLORADO COMPANIES

She gets to watch us create her dream wedding in front of her.”

Photos courtesy of Newberry Brothers

bouquets for their bridal party right now, in order to best show off the dresses,” Newberry-Arnold said. Of course, each bride’s taste is unique, which is why Newberry Brothers has a process to discover the personality of the individual and the vision for the wedding day. “We meet with each bride and show her containers, options and photos of different styles. You can see the excitement in her eyes when you have found the right look. Next, the bride comes in for a play date where she gets to watch us create her dream wedding in front of her,” said Newberry-Arnold. Newberry Brothers has a long history as a wedding and event florist. In fact, its roots in Denver date back to 1947, when three Newberry brothers first opened a greenhouse and wholesale business

Vibrant colors and arrangements of mixed flowers and natural greenery are on trend.

focused on the first trademarked flower in the United States, the “Colorado Carnation.” In 1950, the company purchased another greenhouse, in Littleton, which was given to the youngest brother, Weldon. Within a few years, Weldon Newberry and his wife, Elizabeth, bought the existing location for what is Newberry Brothers today. When fuel prices increased, carnations were being imported to the United States for less than they could be grown locally, which prompted diversification in the flowers and plants in the Newberry Brothers’ greenhouse, mostly potted plants for yards. Elizabeth Newberry, Paula NewberryArnold’s mother, was interested in expanding the business to retail when one day, a woman entered the greenhouse, saw fresh cut lilies and calla lilies, and asked if Newberry Brothers would be her wedding florist. Elizabeth Newberry agreed to provide flowers for the wedding ceremony for $300, which didn’t even cover the cost of the aisle runner, and from that day forward, Elizabeth Newberry was in love with the wedding and event business. Paula Newberry-Arnold joined the business at a young age and now co-owns the business with her son Kien Arnold. (He also owns an events business, Charming Chairs at 3125 S. Sheridan St. in Denver, developed based on the need for furniture rentals that Newberry Brothers was seeing in the industry.) Today, Newberry Brothers is a top Denver florist specializing in weddings, galas, themed events and custom florals for corporate and other events as they are able to come back. During the pandemic, Newberry Brothers had to reduce staff to accommodate the diminished demand and cancellation of events but was able to serve clients through home deliveries of arrangements for birthdays, anniversaries and get

Among the company’s partners are, from left, Ali Phillips and Dana Nightingale.

Floral pieces that make a statement, such as this “chandelier,” are becoming part of wedding decor.

well presents, as well as weekly deliveries of fresh-cut flowers for homes and corporate offices. A few small weddings and elopements sustained the business, and Newberry Brothers is now staffing up and ready to bloom along with the rest of the events industry. Danielle Yuthas is well-versed in the events field as vice president of marketing for national large-format printing franchise, SpeedPro. Yuthas is a freelance journalist whose articles have appeared in Franchising World magazine, the Huffington Post travel blog and other local publications. Her favorite flower is the pale pink peony.

MAY/JUNE 2021 COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM 33


FOR THE FOODIE

Catering to Couples Here’s how the hospitality industry is adapting to the new ways of gathering and celebrating

UPSCALE RESORT SETTINGS ARE STILL IN VOGUE The Broadmoor, the legendary Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort in Colorado Springs, has created spectacular weddings and unforgettable celebrations for more than 98 years. And though the number of guests that are able to gather has been 34

COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM MAY/JUNE 2021

Personalized chartcuterie boards were served to guests at a Broadmoor reception.

curtailed, the number of actual events planned has increased, allowing the special-events staff to truly flex their creative muscles. The days of everyone reaching for passed hors d’oeuvres is not over, but it has been modified. At The Broadmoor, popular items like charcuterie displays and canapes are reimagined and elevated. For one small wedding, Broadmoor catering manager Melissa Fike

explained that instead of an expansive charcuterie board, guests were presented with a personalized selection of meats and cheese on custom, individual wood boards. “They still got that really on-trend and very high-touch appetizer, but they had it individually pre-composed,” Fike explained. “There wasn’t any shared touching of the prosciutto or everyone grabbing for the Parmesan.” Other twists on the classic charcu-

Photo: © jamesbox / stock.adobe.com

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IT’S BEEN MORE THAN A YEAR SINCE the coronavirus altered life as we know it. Though some aspects of “normal” life are starting to emerge, others remain altered and will continue that way for the foreseeable future. Gatherings—particularly weddings and other celebrations—are perhaps one of the most transformed elements. Gone are the ceremonies with hundreds of friends and families in attendance. Buffets are eschewed as the less-thanhygienic nature of that beast is realized. And blowing out birthday candles? Not on your life. However, the desire to gather together and celebrate has not diminished. Yes, many couples made the decision to postpone their weddings until 2021 in the hopes that life would look more normal; others canceled the party entirely and chose to elope or celebrate quietly. But many are now realizing that though a massive event with more than 25 people might not be in the cards, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate in style— especially when it comes to catering.

Photos, right and opposite page upper right: The Broadmoor

By KATIE COAKLEY


For a wedding reception, the Broadmoor created canapes with custom monogrammed toppers.

Bento box style meals, individually packaged.


terie that Fike said have been considered are individual charcuterie cones or skewers with all of the tasty elements contained in personalized packages. Individual servings are also an option for other classic elements of Broadmoor weddings. For example: A pre-pandemic cocktail hour might have included butler-passed canapes. Fike said those are still an option but in individual containers. “We had one client that we put those (canapes) in a little cup and then they had a custom monogrammed paper topper to close the lid to create its own wholly contained entity,” Fike said. “The client would then remove the custom monogrammed topper and inside would be their canape.” Elegant and safe, this option for passed canapes not only lets guests enjoy the fresh air and beautiful Broadmoor setting but also provides an additional personal touch for the couple while delivering the elevated cocktail hour experience that the resort is known for. When it comes to the wedding dinner, though, some practices are good ideas regardless of the size of the group or the current health restrictions. “At the Broadmoor, we do a lot of plated events to begin with and that is the safest style of catering, as opposed to something like family style, where there’s a lot of cross-contamination potential; same with stations or buffets,” Fike said. “So we have definitely been pushing a plated-style function in our menus before COVID and it’s just been enhanced and more popularized.”

DELIVERING CREATIVE MENUS AND EXPERIENCES It’s not just weddings that are being postponed. Fundraising galas were virtually eliminated in 2020 but some found a way to morph the events into something new and memorable. Companies such as Epicurean Group helped pave the way. Nonprofits rely on annual fundraisers and these groups wanted to maintain the celebratory feel while adhering to the public health guidelines and reg36

COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM MAY/JUNE 2021

Photo: Chad Chisholm

FOR THE FOODIE

Food trucks like Big Pinky and Lil’ Woody from High Point Creamery are popular at events for their versatility and requisite open-air design.

ulations. In order to provide the culinary portion of the gala, Epicurean brought the meal to the attendees. “Western Fantasy, typically it’s about a 1,600-person in-person event, seated dinner. Last year they couldn’t do it,” said Wesley Guzman, vice president of E5 Events, part of the Epicurean family of businesses. “So we curated a meal, a very Western Fantasy-type meal of tenderloin and all the sides, plus appetizers, and we delivered that to all of the people’s homes (who were) hosting smaller events.” Then the guests tuned in virtually to Western Fantasy and had the shared experience of enjoying the same meal as all of the other supporters. Venues have been hard hit as well. Epicurean is the exclusive caterer for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA); needless to say, the Seawell Ballroom has been quiet over the past year. However, the DCPA also pivoted and began offering virtual programs with a small group of in-person guests. Epicurean created bento box-

style meals, individually packaged with lunch, breakfast and even charcuterie for those in attendance. The decline in special events has hit catering companies hard, but Guzman still has a positive outlook. “We’re really taking this time to innovate and look at our menu items and look at even our operational processes and streamline ourselves. We’ve learned to do a lot of things with a lot less people, as I’m sure every company has,” Guzman said. “We’re putting our best foot forward and using this time wisely to make sure that we come out of the gates running when it’s time.”

A FRESH WAY TO FEED A GROUP Though the modern-day food truck craze hit in 2008, the practice of “mobile cuisine” has been a part of our culinary history for more than 300 years. That’s when New Amsterdam (now known as New York City) began regulating street


vendors selling food from push carts and chuck wagons fed cattlemen and wagon trains traversing the old West. Today, food trucks are a beacon in the culinary world for their versatility and requisite open-air design: social distancing is attainable and seating is non-existent at a food truck, thus ensuring their popularity with groups large and small. Celebrations and wedding parties are also getting in on the food truck trend. Instead of an ice cream station or traditional dessert course, options like High Point Creamery’s food truck “Big Pinky” can be stationed at your event to serve as the dessert station, complete with a personalized chalkboard listing the couples’ favorite flavors. “Having Big Pinky on this day was truly special and something people still talk about! Thank you for being part of our special day!” posted Katie Curler on High Point’s Instagram account. Traditional brick and mortar restaurants—and wedding favorites—are getting in on the mobile action, too. Morrison destination The Fort debuted its food truck, “Tatanka,” in 2020. Available for private catering and events, Tatanka’s menu includes dishes that epitomize The Fort’s culinary character like buffalo prime rib hoagies, buffalo BBQ ribs, green chile macaroni and cheese, Mexican hot chocolate and more. Though the historic location has recently started welcoming wedding reservations (for parties of 44 or less), booking Tatanka is a new and open-air option for infusing a special event with The Fort’s distinctive Western flavor. From food trucks to carefully packaged charcuterie and all sorts of elements in between, catering has changed. But, thanks to the ingenuity and passion of culinary creatives, our ceremonies and gatherings will continue to be gourmet affairs. Katie Coakley is a freelance writer based in Eagle County covering travel, craft spirits and beer and outdoor adventures. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online outlets like The National, Business Insider, 5280 and Outside. She’s now designing her own personal charcuterie presentation.

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small is beautiful When weddings are scaled back in size and locations change, couples and planners come up with Blair Fischer and Erik Toll had a wedding date, a dress, flowers and a guest list set for their 250-person wedding, scheduled in Austin, Texas, in 2020. But the Colorado couple realized that a trip to Austin and a big gathering scheduled in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t going to happen. They decided to shrink the wedding to just 13 people and to get married over the summer in Tolland, near Boulder, on Erik’s family ranch. The couple rode in on horses from their ranch. • Megan Stark and John LaCouture were planning a winter wedding for 180 people in San Jose del Cabo. Plans were in full swing, but COVID-19 put a hard stop to their nuptials as well.

Photo: Studio JK Photography

creative ways to celebrate


SAY I DO Blair Fischer arrived at her wedding on horseback.


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Photos: S. Lynne Photography

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Both brides ended up pulling off small weddings in just a few weeks without an ounce of regret. “I am from a family of planners,” said Stark, whose family started Classic Party Rental in Englewood (the company is now called Colorado Party Rental). “This allowed us to do what we wanted, and not to have to tailor it to everyone else.” For her and LaCouture, who ended up getting married at a family hunting cabin outside of Telluride, the last-minute affair meant something low-key with low stress. “I ordered the dress from a shop in California and had never even tried it on,” Stark said. She added a hat for flair. Megan’s mom did all the cooking for a menu that included salmon, brisket and macaroni and cheese. And Stark used her party business, Park Ppl Co., to give their 35 guests blankets, food, wine, pillows and an umbrella. That guaranteed automatic social distancing. Across Colorado, wedding planners, photographers, caterers, florists, jewelers and dress shops are seeing changes— but different doesn’t always mean less extravagant. At the Broadmoor, one of Colorado’s premier wedding destinations, event manager Melissa Fike said 2020 was surprisingly busy. The Broadmoor hosted 70 weddings, up from about 60 the year before. The difference, she said, was the number of guests in attendance. Many couples planned for 250 people and ended up with 25. But, “The next day the couple is just as married!” she said. Revenue is certainly down with smaller wedding parties, but many people postponed and Fike is confident that the upcoming Colorado wedding season will see a full comeback. Creativity was the key in 2020. One couple originally planned a wedding in Italy. With no ability to travel, they shifted their venue to the Broadmoor, where Fike and her team created an Italian-themed wedding for the couple’s immediate family members. Cate Carpenter owns Little White Dress Shop in RiNo, and along with fellow bridal business owners, her shop closed in March for a few months. But, she said, a bride wants to feel like a bride, and those who kept their wedding dates still wanted a special dress. Whether you say “I do” in your backyard or at a country club, the special gown for pictures and the memories remains important. Carpenter said she saw a lower volume of brides than originally planned, but she felt lucky that the dress remained an important part of whatever kind of celebration emerged. Denver event planner John Tobey told a similar story of

OUTSIDE TELLURIDE Megan Stark and John LaCouture held their wedding on the grounds of a family hunting cabin. The guest list numbered 35 friends and family members, and also included their dog, Milly.


Photos: Studio JK Photography

2020, agreeing that creativity was everything. Individual food stations, custom masks and tents, heaters and family dance zones were among the elements of celebrations that were all about “over-the-top loveliness.” One of his favorite examples was a micro-wedding where the couple sent individual packaged charcuterie boards, red and white wine and a bottle of Aperol spritzers to each of the 325 guests who couldn’t attend. They live-streamed the event and did a toast with the guests around the country. Brides still have their wedding dream, Tobey said. “They want the pomp and circumstance, but they also want intimacy, details and beauty. Last year showed us that it can be done without hundreds of people in attendance.” For many brides, the smaller ceremony will mean still having a big party down the road. Both Stark and Fischer had already purchased their dresses and had put down deposits on the locations when their plans had to change. Stark said the venue in Cabo won’t return her money, so she and her husband are planning a big party there at the end of 2021. For Stark, the change of plans was an unexpected bonus. Her father, who passed away in September 2018, had talked about how great it would be to throw a party at the Telluride lodge one day. When Megan originally thought of the wedding there, she knew the space couldn’t accommodate the larger party they had originally planned. But when they pared it down, the location felt just right. “I knew it would be what my dad would have wanted,” she said. For both couples, keeping the wedding in Colorado meant an important guest could attend. The brides replaced the traditional bridal party with a furry family member. Stark and LaCouture’s dog, Milly, and Fischer and Toll’s dog, Charlie, stood up with them—or actually, sat down. There are lessons from 2020 that can be applied to 2021 and beyond. Love, ceremony and being with those dearest to you make any day special. Add a little imagination and you are sure to hear wedding bells ringing in every corner of Colorado this wedding season. Lindsey Schwartz is an award-winning television producer and writer, having produced for “48 Hours,” “Dateline NBC” and CBS News. In 2020, she wrote and produced two episodes of a new series for MSNBC called “What’s Eating America.” She won a regional Emmy in 2020 for her writing on Rocky Mountain PBS’ “Heartbreak to Hope,” which marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

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GIDDYUP When Blair Fischer and Erik Toll had to downsize their wedding, they moved it to Toll’s family ranch near Boulder. They rode into the ceremony on horses.


BY JEN HARDIE AND STEPHANIE E. RICHARDS P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y D AV I D S C H M I D T

Bloomtown Set a pretty table and enjoy an al fresco afternoon in the park We’ve logged some serious couch time mastering the subtle art of “Netflix and chill” during the past year, shrouded in COVID-19 uncertainty. While some might consider this an accomplishment, we feel a bit bloated from the TV binge and are ready to take our rightful place outdoors and back in the real world. If an immediate plunge into reality seems a bit too harsh to you after months of one-liners, plot twists and no commercial breaks, let us segue into normal life by throwing a fanciful luncheon for you and your BFF. Inspired by our favorite Netflix series, “Bridgerton,” and with a little help from our friends at White Peacock and Bloom by Anuschka in Denver, we are delighted to serve you a visual feast set in the quiet shade of Cheesman Park’s marble pavilion. Don your best spring finery and pull up a seat. Goodbye, loungewear and Zoom. Hello, Denver.

Opposite Page: Upper left, Mottahedeh tobacco leaf teacup and saucer, $160 at White Peacock; upper right, Matti Berglund custom upholstered and handpainted chairs, goat skin rug and floral arrangement (prices upon request) from Bloom by Anuschka; Herend teapot, $895, Le Jacquard Francais tablecloth, $338, and matching napkins,$23, all from White Peacock; bottom, Baccarat Papillon Lucky Butterfly, $140, Richard Ginori Oriente Italiano flat dessert plate, $100, Herend Princess Victoria dinner plate, $110, Mottahedeh lace charger $135, Bodrum placemat, $35, all from White Peacock.

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Jen Hardie has a degree in communications and has worked as a fashion editor for various publications. With a master’s degree in journalism, Stephanie E. Richards has been a writer and editor for numerous publications. 44

COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM MAY/JUNE 2021


A fashionable legacy

The elegance of old Hollywood The show of more than 100 couture outfits, sketches, photographs, documents and film clips from the wardrobe of French writer, philanthropist and style icon Veronique Peck reveals not only one woman’s life but also the evolution of global high fashion in the latter half of the 20th century. Veronique Passani was a journalist working in Paris in 1952 when she met and interviewed American actor Gregory Peck, who had stopped in France on his way to Italy to film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. The actor was so smitten with the young writer that when he was again in Paris months later, he called her at her newspaper office and asked to meet. The rest, as they say, is history. They wed in 1955 (after Peck’s divorce from his first wife) and were married until Peck’s death in 2003. The Pecks were a celebrated couple in Hollywood, not just among the movie crowd, but also because they donated money to, and raised millions of dollars for, such causes as American Cancer Society, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Los Angeles Public Library. BY SUZANNE S. BROWN

Photo: Jack Albin/Archive Photos Collection/Getty Images

Eyes starved for glamor are finding a feast at the Denver Art Museum in its exhibition, “Paris to Hollywood: The Fashion and Influence of Veronique and Gregory Peck.”


VÉRONIQUE AND GREGORY PECK at the premiere of director Nunnally Johnson’s film, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, 1956.


Denver, CO 80202 720-865-5000 denverartmuseum.org

Photo: Fashion photos courtesy Denver Art Museum

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Véronique Peck brought with her to California “a Parisian vision, not only on fashion, but on lifestyle,” says Florence Müller, the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion at the museum. “You have this very educated woman who had read so many books and had knowledge on every kind of subject.” Married to one of Hollywood’s favorite leading men, Véronique Peck was a frequent hostess and had active roles in various charities. She dressed the part in couture clothing she had made for her by the leading designers of the day, many of them French. She kept notes of her purchases and archived the outfits as well, amassing a collection of more than 300 ensembles over the decades. “As a former journalist, she was organized about materials and research, and I knew that her careful records of correspondence with the couturiers, along with fabric swatches, sketches and notes, all had a story to tell,’’ said Cecilia Peck Voll, Véronique and Gregory Peck’s daughter, via email. “She had been talking with her friend Laura McLaws Helms, the Thea Porter historian, about her collection and the idea of exhibiting it one day, but sadly my mother passed [in 2012] before that could happen. So it became something I very much wanted to do in her honor.” Voll got her chance after being introduced to Müller via a family friend, Ramey Caulkins, an interior designer based in Denver. “We were on vacation and Cecilia was telling me the story of her parents, this love story, and about her mother’s sense of fashion and style,” Caulkins recalled. Shortly after, Caulkins, a supporter of the Denver Art Museum, attended a lecture Müller gave and caught the curator afterwards to mention her connection to Voll and Véronique Peck, offering to introduce them. Voll, a documentary filmmaker, had seen the Christian Dior retrospective in Paris that Müller curated and knew of her work on fashion exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum. “Florence’s expertise was in Yves Saint Laurent and many of the designers that Véronique collected, and she was also interested in Véronique as a woman,” Voll said. “I knew right away that Florence was the perfect fit and it was meant to be.” The two met at Voll’s California home and began planning the exhibition. The Pecks, Müller said, “belong to the history of Hollywood and I saw that there was the possibility of telling the story of them as well as the connection between Hollywood and Paris, where all the trends were decided.” Dresses, coats and gowns from 15 designers are featured in the show, including Valentino, Balenciaga, Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin. The exhibition is organized by themes as well as chronologically, “Paris to Hollywood: tracing such fashion trends The Fashion and Influence of Véronique as the miniskirt. Véronique and Gregory Peck” Peck introduced the On view at the Denver Art designs of André Courrèges Museum through July 18 to the U.S. market in the 100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway


PARIS TO HOLLYWOOD GLAMOR Opposite page, clockwise from upper left: Embroidery and beading detail from the back of an Emilio Pucci silk chiffon jacket, 1965; a beaded overblouse and dress from Valentino Garavani, 1968; from Yves Saint Laurent’s 1967 couture collection, detail of an embroidered lace gown; Thea Porter embroidered silk chiffon dress and scarf, 1975; beading detail from a 1969 Yves Saint Laurent tunic, runway prototype; Guy Laroche 1985 haute couture collection taffeta and nylon net gown that is one of 20 ensembles that are a gift from Cecilia Peck Voll to the Denver Art Museum.

1960s and she became a fashion influencer. A number of the items in Peck’s wardrobe came straight from the runway, or were modified runway samples, other proof of Peck’s connection to the design houses. Visitors to the exhibition will see such couture pieces as outfits from Yves Saint Laurent’s acclaimed Russian collection of 1976-1977. Voll realized early on that her mother had a unique relationship with fashion. “I learned from her that fashion wasn’t about what others were wearing; it was dressing in a way that reflected her engaging personality. …What she wore was part of an entire experience that would be inclusive, warm and memorable. She wasn’t a showcase for the dresses; they reflected who she was.” Going out was a ritual for her parents, Voll said. “My father would always be dressed first, in anticipation of seeing her in her gown. He would be at the bar chilling a bottle of Champagne in a handsome silver bucket, playing Sinatra on the stereo, and gleefully waiting for her to appear. She would be in her boudoir putting on the final touches and last spray of perfume, placing a lipstick in her Buccelati minaudière. When she emerged he would raise his glass, just so delighted by her. She was so much fun, incredibly astute, very engaging on subjects of politics, art, film and culture. She was always the life of the party. And together with their interest in social justice and making a difference in the world, they were unstoppable.” Véronique Peck also was a friend to a younger generation of Hollywood actresses, including Sharon Stone and Laura Dern. Müller interviewed both women and their stories are included in the catalog that accompanies the exhibit. “Sharon told me, ‘When I came to Hollywood, I was very young and didn’t know the rules of society and social life. Véronique was my mentor in how to behave,’” Müller said, noting Dern shared that “Véronique taught her about things like how to set a beautiful table and décor and how to make guests feel welcome and happy.” Not only did Voll loan a big selection of pieces from her mother’s wardrobe for the show, she also donated 20 ensembles to the museum. Müller said she selected pieces that would enlarge her department’s fashion collection. The exhibition, said the curator, “pays homage to Véronique Peck’s taste and her vision,” while the donations help realize “my goal to increase diversity and examples of designers” and fashion periods not currently in museum archives. Touring the exhibit when it opened in March, Cecilia Peck Voll said she was moved by the presentation and seeing the clothes her mother wore, as well as seeing photos and film clips of her parents. Only one thing made Voll sad: “that she couldn’t be here to see it.” Suzanne S. Brown is the managing editor of Colorado Expression. MAY/JUNE 2021 COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM 49


Landscaping is Healthy and Growing in Colorado Outdoor living spaces get luxe treatment with pools, entertaining zones, gardens BY COLLEEN SMI T H

Outdoor spaces for entertaining are a priority with homeowners, who are adding fire pits, fireplaces and comfortable seating where family and friends can gather.


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Photos courtesy of Designscapes

Gardening was not canceled by the pandemic in 2020. Neither did the coronavirus cancel landscaping in Colorado. Quite the contrary. Gov. Jared Polis deemed landscaping crews essential workers, and landscaping is one branch of the state’s economy that has flourished. “Landscapers’ work often includes emergency irrigation repairs, as well as fence, retaining wall and deck construction, not to mention the maintenance of landscaped areas to help maintain the value of business, residential and government properties,” the governor’s office said. Phil Steinhauer, a landscape architect who trained at Colorado State University, could not agree more. The founder and president of Designscapes Colorado, Steinhauer also serves this year as president of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. Steinhauer stepped in as drought swept the state and the virus continues to affect daily life for Coloradans. Despite the pandemic, or perhaps in part because of it, the landscaping industry is alive and growing in Colorado. Steinhauer found the following silver linings.

Quarantine made outdoor living spaces quintessential

THE DETAILS

Water conservation is always cool Following record-breaking wildfires across the state in 2020, drought continues to be a big issue in the West. Steinhauer’s ALCC presidency also faces the challenge of water usage. “As an industry, we seem to get a bad rap as water hogs. Really, we were the ones landscaping for drought, and landscape design coined the term ‘xeriscape,’ so we’ve always been conscious of water,” Steinhauer said. “Good landscape design puts in the most efficient irrigation.

Designscapes Colorado works within a wide range of budgets to design and install landscapes. Designscapes Colorado 15440 E. Fremont Dr. Centennial, CO 80112 303-721-9003 designscapescolorado.com

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“Whether working from home, or in the home all day with kids going to school at home, people need a place to take a break in. People need to separate themselves and be able to look at a different environment rather than just staying inside,” Steinhauer said. “And now these outdoor spaces are where people entertain because people are not entertaining inside the home. Outdoor spaces allow people to be socially distant outside, and most of us are more comfortable with that—even if it’s just families.” While outdoor rooms that extend the home already enjoyed popularity in Denver in recent years, since lockdown many people have added heaters or shelters to make the spaces more comfortable year-round. Private swimming pools are making a splash

“We’re definitely doing a lot more swimming pools. Country clubs were shut down. Municipal pools did not open last summer, and there’s an uncertainty of when they will open,” Steinhauer said. “For people who were considering a pool, the virus pushed them over the edge.”


We put in grass where it should go, and we’re not just filling a whole yard with turf. We’ve always been purveyors of water conservation. We’re not in favor of wasting water on landscaping, and we’re also talking about the health benefits of trees and shrubs, flowers and vegetable gardens. We see plants as a way to invest to clean our air. There is a balance. We’ve tried to accomplish that as an industry in how we view our water reservoirs, how we apply our market studies.” Hardscape is enjoying its moment in the sun—or shade

As an alternative to thirsty turf or flowerbeds, hardscapes are gaining an edge. Landscapers can construct hardscapes as dry-stacked, semi-permeable surfaces appropriate for applications such as patios and pathways. “Hardscape has its place,” Steinhauer said. “People are investing in materials other than just concrete, but there are some really nice concrete finishes these days, too. It’s an important part of any project overall to match materials for hardscaping surfaces with elements of the home.” Higher-end hardscaping leans solidly toward natural stone. “As always, our Colorado flagstone is very popular in rose or buff color. It’s a local resource, so it’s more sustainable,” Steinhauer said. He also reports more use of imported bluestone, particularly for modern farmhouse architecture.

Vegetable gardens are a growing trend

“At almost every house, I’m putting in a vegetable garden — and not just a six-by-six timber bed,” Steinhauer said. “People are fascinated with and drawn to growing vegetables and working or just being in the garden. There is the organic growing piece, but it’s also just the peace of getting away and doing something with your hands and being in dirt. People are gravitating to that because they’re saying, ‘I am at home. I can maintain a garden.’ ” He encourages families to use gardens as classrooms, of sorts. “It’s important for parents in this this day and age to teach children about the garden. So much of what they get is at their fingertips online, but seeing how things grow and having children see how nature works—that is a deeper family activity.” Displaced hospitality industry workers landed in landscaping

“We have been able to employ a lot of displaced hotel and restaurant workers,” Steinhauer said. He added that the attention to detail required of restaurant/hotel workers translated well to detail-oriented landscaping crew work. Colleen Smith writes and gardens in a historic district of Denver, where she restored a Craftsman bungalow built 100 years ago.

We see plants as a way to invest to clean our air.” - Phil Steinhauer, Designscapes Colorado

Hardscapes using stone and water features, opposite page, lend a natural feel to the landscape; a stone archway separates outdoor dining and entertaining zones, above; gardens for vegetables and herbs are a growing trend.

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COLORADO WEEKENDS

Playing a New Hand With an expanded resort and more attractions on the way, Black Hawk and Central City improve their odds as top destinations for visitors By Charlie Brown

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THE LURE OF LUCK, FUN AND fortune has always played a key role in Black Hawk and Central City’s anything-can-happen culture. The adjacent historic gold mining and gambling towns are located less than an hour’s drive from Denver and have become a favorite playground. “We’ve gone from using a pick and shovel to prospect for gold to working with inscrutable dice and fickle cards, always looking for the big hit

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on a little game of chance,” said Central City Mayor Jeremy Fey. The small towns’ ever-changing economic fortunes could be changing again. With approval by state voters of Amendment 77 last year and subsequent thumbs-up by both city councils, Las Vegas-style gaming rules are coming to the area’s 21 casinos May 1. The $100-bet limit, the smallest in the country, is gone and players

will now have access to unlimited single-bet wagers and new casino games, including Baccarat (a fast two-card game favored by James Bond), two-ball roulette and Keno.

A CASINO’S MOST WELCOME MAMMAL: WHALES “Our community is really excited about the May 1 casino changes. Removing betting limits will offer visitors a better gaming experience and hopefully attract high-stakes players—‘whales’ in Vegas lingo— and we welcome them,” said David Spellman, a fifth-generation Black Hawk resident who’s been mayor for 14 years after serving 20 years on city council. “We believe the new rules will generate new revenues, increase employment, make us competitive with other markets and solidify our community as a resort destination in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West,” Spellman said.


UNFORGETTABLE COLORADO GETAWAYS

Black Hawk, which has 15 casinos and draws 20,000 daily gaming visitors, is adding attractions.

A NEW DESTINATION PLAYER IN TOWN: THE MONARCH

Photo courtesy Jeremy Fey

Photo courtesy Central City

Photo courtesy Black Hawk

A large “Monarch” sign greets visitors at the southern entrance of the old mining town’s Main Street. The Riviera Casino, the site’s former occupant, had one buffet and no hotel rooms. Monarch purchased the Riviera in 2012 and the result is a $442 million, long-awaited second destination resort for Black Hawk. The Monarch Casino Resort Spa, a 23-story tower, has 516 guest rooms and suites, banquet and meeting rooms, a retail store, concierge lounges, fitness room, rooftop spa and a pool with cabanas. The casino has 60,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,250 slot machines, 40 table games, a dedicated high-stakes room, a sports lounge and poker room. Guests have plenty of dining choices, including Black Hawk’s only 24-hour full service restaurant, a 250-seat buffet, and the Monarch Chophouse. Additional restaurants are planned. There’s plenty of free self-parking in the attached nine-story parking structure that includes Tesla and EV charging stations. Complimentary valet parking is also available.

Central City Mayor Jeremy Fey says momentum has increased for development and restoration projects.

The Opera House in Central City was built in 1878, and for 85 years has hosted a summer opera festival.

The new rules could not have come soon enough in what has been a disruptive and devastating time for the gambling towns. Due to the pandemic, casinos were forced to close for 90 days last year. Gaming fuels the local economy, and the economic

hit was $10 million in city revenues. Black Hawk, with its 15 casinos, tallies about 85 percent of the state’s gaming revenues. The town attracts 20,000 daily gaming visitors and ranks 15th in gaming destinations by the American Gaming Association.

THE DETAILS Monarch Casino Resort Spa 488 Main St. Black Hawk, CO 80422 303-582-1000 monarchblackhawk.com

Ameristar Casino Resort & Spa 111 Richman St. Black Hawk, CO 80422 720-946-4000 ameristar.com

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COLORADO WEEKENDS

The Monarch’s butterfly theme is prevalent throughout the hotel. It’s in the carpets, on artwork, and butterflies are even embossed on guest room walls. The hotel is working with Westminster’s Butterfly Pavilion to design monarch butterfly outdoor habitat gardens at the resort. The ambiance and beauty of the new Monarch will remind some guests of their favorite Vegas properties. “Guests are already commenting that our property is on par and often better than the resorts they visit in Las Vegas,” said David Farahi, chief operating officer. In terms of marketing, Farahi is realistic. He knows Colorado is one of the top five feeders to Vegas. “We won’t be able to stop Coloradans from visiting Las Vegas, but if they go four or five times a year and come to a Colorado gaming town for one of those visits, the impact for the state and industry will be meaningful.”

AMERISTAR – STABLE AND STEADY EXCITEMENT Two long blocks up the street is Black Hawk’s first destination hotel, the 33-story Ameristar Casino Resort and Spa. It opened 20 years ago as the Black Hawk Casino by Hyatt at a time when Colorado bet limits were (hard-to-believe) $5. It became

Ameristar in 2006 with 536 guest rooms and suites. A AAA Four Diamond property, its two-story casino has massive floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces and timber beams creating a rustic Colorado elegance. Last year, Ameristar’s signature restaurant, Timberline Grill, was recognized by Wine Spectator magazine for its innovative wine list. In November, Ameristar opened Barstool Sportsbook on the second floor of the casino. Sport fans can cheer on their favorite teams assisted by a 24-foot-wide video wall, 29 HDTVs and 13 betting kiosks. “We will continue to invest in our property to ensure our guests have a great experience at our resort,” said Sean Demeule, general manager.

MORE THAN GAMBLING Both mayors are aware that all guests don’t come to gamble, and the towns are working to broaden attractions, including outdoor recreation, entertainment and historic sites. Black Hawk has worked for years to annex nearby Maryland Mountain’s 600 acres, with a goal of creating a recreational park with multiple trails for hiking and mountain biking. Its soon-to-open realignment of the pedestrian-friendly Gregory Street retail plaza will celebrate the area’s

The Chophouse at Monarch Casino Resort Spa offers steakhouse dining in an elegant setting.

Rooms and suites at the Monarch feature contemporary decor.

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162-year history. The biggest coup was the announcement last year that Proximo Spirts, parent company to Stranahan’s and Tincup Whiskey, plan to build what will be Colorado’s largest distillery. The $50 million, 20-acre facility will include a hotel, restaurants, retail, event space,


Photos courtesy Monarch Casino Resort Spa

UNFORGETTABLE COLORADO GETAWAYS

campground, amphitheater and axethrowing course. The non-gaming Lake Gulch Whiskey Resort will employ almost 100 full- and part-time employees and is expected to attract 60,000 annual visitors. The exterior will be designed to reflect the town’s historic buildings. In Central City, momentum has increased for restoration and redevelopment projects of historic core city buildings, Fey said. “We’ve already

seen two sales and have one pending. We will be expanding casinos.” The city is restoring the 1875 Belvidere Theatre with a goal of “adding an important multipurpose event center to the community and to the continued vibrancy of the historic district,” the mayor said. Central City has a four-story building height limit and the mayor is not inclined to change it. “We represent the traditional aspect of old-time gam-

ing, the boutique form where players can still slide real coins into the onearmed bandits,” he said. “That still has appeal to some our players.” Charlie Brown is a former Colorado state representative and served more than 14 years on Denver City Council. He’s been spotted looking for loose slots and luck in Black Hawk, Central City and Wynn Las Vegas. Far from a whale, he considers himself a Salmo trutta, brown trout.

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GREAT ESCAPES

Royal Island

Travel to a private island in the Bahamas, where villas overlook a sandy beach and customized adventures make for an unforgettable vacation Story and photos by Chad Chisholm

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AS THE FEATHERY WHITE CLOUDS parted outside the window of our jet, from my window seat I could see the azure Caribbean waters peppered with emerald gems of islands as we made our final descent. There it was: Royal Island, just off the coast of Eleuthera. I couldn’t wait to plunge into the private island getaway that awaited me. Thoughts of an island getaway spark daydreams of deserted beaches, sunshine-soaked pool decks, aqua waters and tranquil spaces. Royal Is-

land Bahamas by Cuveé has all those attributes, and more. The island oasis is a guest’s dream, complete with accommodations for up to 18 guests, pool, jet skis, lounges and Bahamian hospitality. After arriving on Eleuthera island, we took a private charter boat across sparkling Caribbean waters to the 430-acre Royal Island. The crystalclear sea afforded a glimpse below of thriving coral reefs, lobsters scuttling along the sand and schools of shimmering fish. Once at Royal Island,

THE DETAILS Cuveé Cuveé is a curated collection of ultra-luxury villas, chalets and estates and is not a membership club.

Colorado Office

Refreshing cocktails like Bahama Mamas are an island staple.

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1800 Wazee St. Suite 210 Denver, CO 80202 720-833-4533 cuvee.com


THE INSIDERS’ GUIDE TO THE HOTTEST VACATION DESTINATIONS

we were treated to chilled coconuts, and luggage was whisked away to our villa. A welcome at The Beach Club was complete with snacks and bar to belly up to. I ordered a frozen rum drink and took in the ocean view beyond, nibbling on conch fritters and ice-cold fruit while soft steel drum music played on the breeze. I could feel my cares melt away. On the island, there are five villas. A one-key experience, the island is yours and yours alone, whether that means a romantic getaway for two or for a

family gathering of 18 (you won’t be sharing the pool with anyone you don’t know, so feel free to hog the flamingo pool floatie). In addition to the five villas, there is a bunk room and spa suite—perfect for kids or nannies. Dark woods and crisp white sheets make for welcome island accommodations, with each villa lining a sandy beach and overlooking the waters beyond. The master-style bathroom suites and soaking tubs might have you enjoying the luxury of the room just as much as the property.

The heart of the resort is the pool and beach club area.

“We made the decision to invest in Royal Island and add it to our portfolio as it is one of the only islands in the world that offers a completely private experience,” said Kristin Westberg, vice president of global client experiences for Cuveé. “The entire on-island experience is curated to the preferences of our guests, including customized menus and adventures, and a truly dedicated staff

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GREAT ESCAPES

catering to their every desire. The island itself is pristine, authentically Bahamian, and only an hour’s flight from South Florida airports.” The heart of the resort is the pool and Beach Club area, where a chef offered local, fresh fare and poolside treats. The small, friendly staff quickly learned favorite drink orders and playfully bantered with the guests. (If you’ve never tried a Goombay Smash or Planter’s Punch, this is the time to imbibe.) The large pool terrace is a tranquil spot to sip a drink or float away the afternoon; a nearby whirlpool spa overlooks an emerald bay where jet skis are at the ready for a fun-filled ride on the water or to transport you to nearby beaches. Chef-prepared, locally inspired fare is excellent at Royal Island. I especially enjoyed lobster dinner night under a canopy of sparkling stars and with the glow of nearby tiki torches. A local band was brought in while we laughed and ate dinner. After dessert of an island-style cheesecake, dancing began on an impromptu dance floor, where we twirled to a rendition of “Red, Red Wine.” The dining terrace was then transformed into an outdoor movie theater, complete with lounge seating and popcorn, as the gentle island breezes swayed the palm trees and the movie played over a subtle lapping of waves on the

Yoga sessions under a flamboyant tree are among the activities for guests.

Chef Sergio prepares lobsters.

Royal Island’s peaceful views and calm waters make your cares melt away.

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THE INSIDERS’ GUIDE TO THE HOTTEST VACATION DESTINATIONS

Al fresco dining is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Island villas overlook the beach and ocean.

private beach shore. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean; what else? During the day, a boat is available to take guests snorkeling off a sunken ship, or for a picnic on a sugar-white sandbar. Minding the tides, the staff helps navigate the best times for

local activities. Early risers can take in the cotton-candy sunrise on a solitary beach walk or center their minds with some yoga near the pool under a blooming flamboyant tree. One unexpected opportunity included an afternoon feeding and

swimming with baby pigs. Almost as if a supper bell was rung as our boat pulled up to the beach, the pigs trotted across the white sands and splashed into the water, anxiously awaiting one of their favorite treats: apples. Slices skewered onto the ends of sticks were gobbled up by the piglets as they tread water seeking more food. Tailored not only to the guests’ desires and vacation plans, Cuvée’s attention to detail also extends to curated cultural experiences and partnerships with the local community. “Cuvée’s vision has always been to create highly personalized and authentic experiences for our guests in each of the destinations we call home,” Westberg said. Chad Chisholm is a Denver-based travel writer and photographer.

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Sleepwear Gets a Chic, Comfortable Upgrade Two Denver designers create pajamas for life beyond the bedroom By Georgia Alexia Benjou

Photos courtesy of Mark Doolittle

FOR OVER A YEAR NOW, WOMEN have been living in a steady rotation of sweat pants, hoodies and pajamas as we hunker down at home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. But balancing our jobs, our kids and our homes has been pretty overwhelming. One major cause of stress for women has been our wardrobes. Trying to find pieces that can easily, comfortably and appropriately go from the bedroom to a business Zoom call has not been easy. Which is why last year two Denver-based women decided to launch their own versions of sleepwear that can be styled to go from the bedroom to brunch to happy hour.

Two styles of maxidresses in a modal/spandex blend fabric are part of the SKiVYS collection, and minis are also available, $68-$78.

Built-in coverage and comfort

SKiVYS is loungewear with built-in bra support that a woman can wear all day. skivys.com

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For 45-year-old artist Kelly Degnan, the event that sparked the idea for her sleepwear-meetsloungewear line SKiVYS was a tween boy sleepover. The night Degnan’s 11-year old son invited friends for a stay over resulted in one kid being sick and another one having a nightmare. Degnan, who had to repeatedly go from her bedroom into a room

full of preteen boys, felt that her pajamas did not provide the appropriate coverage. “I thought, there must be a better solution,” says Degnan. However, her extensive online search yielded zero results: “I found nothing on the market that was cute, cozy and offered enough bra support to be acceptable in front of a crew of preteen boys or even to open the front door.” At that point, she decided to create a comfortable


LIVING A LIFE OF BALANCE

Photos courtesy of Kimberly & Raphael Molina

yet chic sleepwear collection that women could wear all day, minus the bra dilemma. Then last spring’s COVID-19 lockdown happened. Ironically, it was a sign to Degnan that she was on the right path, and also gave her time to sketch designs, find a local patternmaker and even research manufacturers. Degnan’s pieces include considered details like side slits for ease of movement, pockets and—most important—an interior bra. Creating the bra support layer, however, was challenging: “I bought dozens of bras, swimsuits, sports tops, lingerie, yoga pants and even prom dresses, chopped them up and pieced sections together trying to find the right solution,” she says. Eventually, Degnan found two fabrics with just the right amount of support to create an elegant but full-coverage interior bra for her sleepwear. She officially launched SKiVYS in October 2020 with four silhouettes: two maxi gowns (one with flattering side ruching and the other an A-line tank style) and Sedvana sleep and loungewear is functional, stylish and made of sustainable fabrics.

two minidresses. All are cut in a comfortable, silky modal/spandex fabric that even helps to thermal regulate body temperature while sleeping. The sporty, but stylish dresses look polished on their own or are perfect as an underpinning with a cardigan thrown over them.

Sustainable and sleek

The SKiVYS maxi has side ruching and a slit for ease of movement.

Coincidentally, 30-year-old Hannah Barry was experiencing the exact sleepwear issues around the same time. A Colorado native and fashion industry veteran who returned to Denver in October 2020 after living in Los Angeles for six years, Barry discovered the impracticality of women’s sleepwear after spending a weekend with

family. While crawling around on the floor to play with her toddler niece, Barry’s husband mentioned that her nightwear left her completely exposed. Frustrated by short and sheer sleepwear that was only suitable for the bedroom or flannelprinted pajamas that just weren’t her style, Barry decided to create a collection of sleek, functional and sustainable pieces. Launched last November and called Sedvana (meaning “habit” or “tradition” in Swedish), Barry’s pieces are wear-tested and crafted for longevity and ease. They’re lowmaintenance (machine-washable) and won’t pill or shrink. They’re also environmentally friendly. “Every aspect of this line—the fabric, tags

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and packaging—is created from recycled dead-stock material or leftovers from brands,” explains Barry. The repurposed materials allow Sedvana’s carbon footprint to be reduced significantly, and since none of the fabrics are dyed, there’s no water waste. Barry’s thoughtful, streamlined designs are easy to layer and address a range of women’s needs: Buttons on tops to cover the décolletage; deep pockets in the topper robe (complete with collar and a button-up front) to hold cellphones or headphones, and bottoms with longer inseams to make it easier to sit cross-legged. Even Sedvana’s brand photography aims to be inclusive by using a variety of models (minus a glam squad—no hair, no makeup, no Photoshop) to keep things real. So what’s next for these women entrepreneurs? Although Degnan is planning new additions to the SKiVYS collection in late spring,

Sedvana’s button-front top and sleep shorts are versatile separates for lounging and sleeping. The full collection is priced from $90 to $199.

The complete Sedvana collection can be found at sedvana.com

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what she really is waiting for is a return to in-person events: “I love the idea of introducing women to my line by throwing pajama parties where we can sip champagne and sit around in our SKiVYS together!” Barry, who also wants to offer women more options from silhouettes to colors, says maintaining her quality level and sustainability efforts come first. However, one thing both designers agree on is how the pandemic has permanently changed the way women think about their sleepwear. “Last year, we had women reach out who had been laid off, got engaged or found out they were pregnant – all while

wearing pajamas,” Barry said. “It shows how a wardrobe staple that usually isn’t present for big life moments all of a sudden took center stage.” Indeed, women really did live much of 2020 in their pajamas, good or bad. Going forward, these designers are ensuring that women will have sleepwear that’s stylish, comfortable and functional. Georgia Alexia Benjou started in the fashion industry as a national buyer and merchandiser for luxury brands in New York City, Milan and Paris. Today, she is based in Colorado as an editorial and advertising stylist. She also co-owns the fashion consulting and events firm, Short Story, which works with emerging and established designers.


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Profile for Colorado Expression magazine

Colorado Expression - magazine - May-June 2021  

Colorado Expression - magazine - May-June 2021  

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