The Text Message Like Button Is Rude

First, I want to speak to the time we’re currently in. In the time of this coronavirus pandemic, we are all social distancing and most people are having to stay home. But can we not pretend that we haven’t been social distancing for a while now? It arguably started with the invention of the text message. Rather than giving someone a call, we can send a text to show that we ‘care.’ Yes, texting was a great invention due to the fact that your parents could/can just text you and say “Be out front in 15 minutes,” when they’re coming to pick you up from the movies. Although, it has turned into something else in some respects.

Following the advent of the text message, you had your AOL instant messenger, a way to chat with multiple people at once (I didn’t use it much). Then, Myspace which started the social media revolution. And, of course now, Facebook, Instagram, and all the other social networks and apps. All of this social media is a means of connecting socially, yes, but in many ways has distanced us. Rather than a phone call, or a postcard, or meeting face to face, it’s easier to keep up by seeing what people are doing by following them on the internet.

But to my point, the fact that we all love Instagram and other online spaces is great, but much of it creates anxiety. Why does it create anxiety? Well, I think one reason is when people just like your photo or look at your story and don’t engage with it, it means you don’t know what they think about it. So many times our minds will go “did anybody like it? Is it an ugly picture? Do they think I’m weird?”

So with that being said, text messages, even though they were kind of a form of social distancing at first, they became less of a social distance than talking with someone through a social media app. When you text, you’re usually engaging with one or a few people having a genuine, connective conversation. But, now that we have the text message like button, many texts conversations are becoming impersonal. If you don’t know or if you don’t have this feature, most smartphones have the option to click a received text and put a thumbs up, thumbs down, exclamation point, heart, HAHA or question mark.

Call me old school but if I’m texting with family and friends, I would rather talk with words rather than use a heart reaction in response to texts. To me, it’s lazy and shows a lack of caring and respect. Maybe I have an extreme opinion on this, but I would rather not talk at all than try to reach out to someone and they mostly react with clicking my text and putting a thumbs up. Technically, you could say the same for emojis and gifs used in texts, but to me, it feels different. I can handle the gifs for some reason because there’s some effort behind it, but the text reaction really gets to me. There is some kind of eerie disconnection I feel from it.

Advice: if you’re starting to date someone and they keep using the text reaction button — run fast.

Self published on Medium

4 Cafes with Excellent Avocado Toast

Yes, I’m a millennial and yes, I love avocado toast. I suppose I’m a cliche but let’s be real, avocado toast is one of the few luxuries we have these days. None of us can afford to have a kid or buy a house, so can you just let us enjoy our avocado toast? Anyways, here’s a few places in and around Denver that serve great avo toast:

Thump Coffee

Photo by Thump Coffee

1201 E. 13th Ave. and 601 N. Broadway, Denver

Starting off with my favorite, Thump Coffee which started in Bend, Oregon with two locations there and having expanded to Denver with two locations here, has insanely good toast. It’s made on Jackson’s Corner sourdough bread aka you can taste the freshness and that it’s crafted with care and expertise. Then it’s coated with quality butter, smashed avocado, sea salt and Aleppo crushed red pepper. It melts in your mouth it’s so simple yet so flavorful. You can also add a poached egg, but I’d argue it’s better plain.

Spur Coffee

Photo by Bridget Douglas

95 Lincoln St., Denver

The new-ish coffee shop a block off of the bustling South Broadway, Spur Coffee has a modern vibe as well as great food and coffee. The menu is healthy with gluten-free and vegan options. The avocado toast isn’t your average variety, but it’s very delicious. I go for the gluten-free bread then it’s topped with arugula pesto, toasted seeds, micro greens and sumac. It has a unique taste, it’s earthy and pungent. Pair it with a delicious latte and you’ll be good to go.

Alpine Modern Cafe

Photo by Alpine Modern

904 College Ave. and 1048 Pearl St., Boulder

I recently visited the College Ave. location which I was drawn to by its beautiful facade and location with great views of the neighborhood and the Flatirons. Alpine Modern is just like its name a modern, Nordic style cafe. If you’re a lover of avocado toast, you must try this place. The menu consists of several varieties of tartine: proscuitto, smoked salmon, egg, nut butter, and of course, avocado. The avocado tartine is served with shaved radish, fresh dill, smoked paprika and drizzled with a healthy serving of olive oil. Pair it with a CBD infused coffee, and savor every last bite.

Port Side

Photo by Bridget Douglas

2500 Larimer St., Denver

Port Side is one of the coffee stops in the hip RiNo neighborhood alongside Stowaway Kitchen, Crema and Denver Central Market. It is a small space serving local Huckleberry Roasters coffee, quality lattes and boozy drinks like mimosas and white russians to go with your breakfast or lunch. And the food is the winner here with creative breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and more. The avocado toast is hearty and delicious, served on sourdough with lots of avocado and covered with radish and togarashi. It’s a must try.

A Guide to Fried Chicken Sandwiches In Denver

I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater, but I definitely have my vices fried chicken sandwiches being one of them. It’s strange because when I was a kid, I thought fried chicken in general to be gross. (One thing I’ve always disliked and will always dislike is hot dogs.) But nowadays, I’ve found fried chicken sandwiches to be one of my favorite things to eat when I’m feeling careless. Luckily, today there are many restaurants and even chains that source locally farmed chickens which is healthier for people and the environment. Rather than eating Popeye’s, KFC or Chick-Fil-A, eating at local institutions that aren’t using factory farmed chicken is a much better alternative. So here is the lowdown on good quality chicken sandwiches, specifically in the city of Denver:

Birdcall

Photo by Bridget Douglas

Various Locations: Five Points, University & the Union Station Whole Foods, Denver

My love for hot chicken began at this lovely establishment. I live near one of the locations, so I’ve had it more times than I’d like to say. My take on Birdcall is being a high-quality, futuristic fast food joint. You go in and it has kiosks where you put in your order on the screen and pay there as well. Some would say that seems anti-social but the employees there are extremely nice and helpful. But on to the sandwich, it has several varieties, but I’ve only ever had the Original and the Nashville Hot. Its base is a nice buttery aspen bun with dill or sweet pickles and then some juicy, crispy chicken breast. The french fries are great, too some might say similar to McDonald’s but obviously way better quality. I will say though, it’s not always perfectly served, but 95 percent of the time it is.

The Budlong

Photo by Bridget Douglas

Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee St., Suite 100, Denver

The Budlong started in Chicago, a long established foodie city, and this eatery lives up to its foodie roots. It opened up in the RiNo food hall, Zeppelin Station which is somewhat of an international hub of different cultural food offerings and a retail series called ‘Made In:’ which features a different city from around the world every few months and showcases its local designers. The specialty at the Budlong is Nashville hot chicken featuring sandwiches, tenders, wings and more. I had the coveted Hot Chicken sandwich (it’s perfect). It has the right amount of heat, a slather of its flavorful ‘comeback’ sauce and a heap of coleslaw to cool it down. It comes on a brioche bun, too, which you can’t ever go wrong with.

Chicken Rebel

Photo by Chicken Rebel

3618 Tejon St., Denver

I have yet to try Chicken Rebel, but I’ve heard many good things. Starting out as a food truck regularly housed at Finn’s Manor which is a bar that has a back patio which houses a few food trucks. It gained such popularity that it was able to get a spot as a vendor in Avanti F&B, one of Denver’s first food collectives which has an amazing upstairs patio with great views of the city. After a few months stint there, it decided to open its own brick and mortar location. It’s an all out restaurant with a full bar and wait service. Its chicken sandwiches are special because they are beer battered and come in several creative variations like the Hometown Rebel with bacon, guacamole and its ‘rebel’ sauce. You bet your bottom dollar I’m going to be trying this soon.

Lou’s Hot and Naked

Photo by Bridget Douglas

701 Grant St. and Denver Milk Market, 1800 Wazee St., Denver

Well-known chef of Denver, Frank Bonnano who owns several restaurants in the city, recently opened a big downtown food hall near Union Station. The Denver Milk Market is grandiose with tons of food vendors, bars, a pasta maker, a butcher and more. One of the food stalls is Lou’s Hot and Naked which was inspired by a trip Bonnano made to Nashville trying all of the city’s infamous hot chicken. Milk Market is a very lively and fun place I went and of course had to try the hot chicken. I got the Lou’s sandwich, which is just a potato roll, crispy chicken breast and pickles — you can request naked, medium or hot, I got the hot. It was solid, definitely the most like Chick-Fil-A, but slightly better. This past summer, it also opened its own individual brick and mortar, Lou’s Food Bar in Capitol Hill.

Lucky Bird

Photo by Bridget Douglas

Edgewater Public Market, 5505 W. 20th Ave., Edgewater

Denver’s newest food hall and now the largest one in the city, Edgewater Public Market is home to tons of unique food stalls. It has everything from Ethiopian to lobster rolls and a fried chicken spot Lucky Bird. It started out as a food truck and still is, but has now expanded to have a physical space at the Edgewater hall. It’s not your average chicken, it has an Asian twist, though it does have some standard American offerings. I ordered the Spicy Bird which comes on a potato bun with a healthy sized fried chicken breast, gochujang butter and house pickles. Gochujang is a Korean chili paste which is both sweet and spicy. If you enjoy Asian or Korean flavors, I would definitely recommend, if not try the Big Bird with mustard slaw and cheddar.

Royal Rooster

Photo by Royal Rooster

Broadway Market, 950 Broadway, Denver

If you can’t tell, food halls seem to be the spot for all the good fried chicken sandwiches and plenty of other delicious grub options. The Broadway Market is home to a sushi bar, pizzeria, chocolatier, self-serving beer and Royal Rooster which offers epic chicken sandwiches and burgers. Famed Denver chef, Justin Brunson is the mastermind behind the Rooster. The chicken is cage-free and 100 percent antibiotic free. The sandwiches come on ‘squishy’ buns with dill or butter pickles and bibb lettuce. The varieties include a Nashville Hot (ghost pepper), Spicy (chipotle mayonnaise), French (topped with ham and swiss) and the Classic. I think I need to try them all.

7 Witchy Shops In Denver

When it comes to witches and witchcraft, many of us think of the Salem witch trials, the movie Hocus Pocus and the evil queen in Snow White. Witches are associated with Halloween and the dark side, but in reality, most witches use their practices and spirituality for good, not bad. 

In our modern culture, to practice witchcraft can mean many things: tarot, palmistry, meditation, art, astrology, holistic medicine, making potions, crystal healing and more. The ultimate meaning though is about employing plants, herbs, rocks and other elements to shift energy in order to manifest change. 

I’ve rounded up seven beautiful shops in the Denver area that celebrate witchcraft whether wholly or partially. There are a few other shops in the city that I’m not listing, this list just speaks to me authentically. If you’re interested in the occult or just pretty things, you should check out these shops:

Arcana Herbal

Photo by Arcana Herbal

2836 W. 44th Ave., Denver

A cute little space in the Sunnyside neighborhood houses an occult apothecary run by three women. Open four days a week, making it an even more sought out place to check it out, is full of handmade goods made by the shop owners. Here you can find beautiful candles made with essential oils, herbs and flowers — and bath salts like the Black Moon Lilith made with charcoal, rose and cypress. In addition, it has soaps, smelling salts, herbal teas and more. Often the shop holds cool events like its ‘Tarot and Tinsel’ which is a day of tarot readings and getting tinsel put in your hair. Check out their Instagram to stay updated on events and new products.

Alchemy Ritual Goods

Photo by Alchemy Ritual Goods

2536 Champa St., Denver

In an unassuming residential spot on Champa, a few blocks from the RiNo district, Alchemy Ritual Goods is the cozy little magic shop of dreams. Alchemy means transforming basic metals like lead into gold, so essentially it’s magic. The goods and services offered here are meant to make you a more enchanted, full being. Here, you can find tarot decks, crystals, incense, candles, books, homemade herbal kits and more. On top of that, it has a weekly schedule of readings (walk-in or call) ranging from tarot to ancestral medicine to spiritual readings — and even hand poke tattoos on Fridays.

The Terrorium Shop

Photo by Bridget Douglas

3611 W. 49th Ave., Denver

Denver is home to many plant shops, some more unique than others. A few blocks the Regis University and around the bin from the popular Noshery bakery and cafe is The Terrorium Shop. The owners are a husband and wife duo that have blended their hobbies of gardening and taxidermy into a business. Terroriums are glass bowls filled with sand or soil, succulents, plants and other objects. Here, the majority of them have a little skull inside them from animals like foxes, raccoons and more. You can also find floral arrangements, individual plants and ‘preserved mini worlds’ with things like bones and preserved beetles and butterflies. If you’re into this stuff, it also offers several terrorium and taxidermy classes.

Ritualcravt

Photo by Ritualcravt

7700 W. 44th Ave., Wheat Ridge

Ritualcravt is THE witch shop in Denver. All the other shops I’m listing have some or a lot of elements relating to the occult but this place is all about witchcraft. Once in a small space in Denver, has now moved to a bigger space full of all the metaphysical goods you could ever need. It has books, tarot cards, incense, crystals, candles, oils, soaps and all kinds of oddities. Everything is very well curated meaning it is majority handmade and ethically sourced. In addition, it hosts events several times a week relating to different aspects of witchcraft such as moon rituals, ancestral healing, working with herbs and more.

Spirit Ways

Photo by SpiritWays Metaphysical Shop

3301 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

In the heart of East Colfax near the Bluebird Theater as well as several bars and restaurants is a charming bright mystical shop Spirit Ways. You can’t miss this spot with its colorful decorations in the windows. It’s chock full of stones and crystals, incense, candles, oils, books and tarot cards. In addition, it has jewelry, clothing, accessories, journals, cards, pottery and archangel and goddess figurines. It’s a fun place to walk around and gawk at all the pretty stuff. Tarot readings are offered almost daily as well as other services such as reiki and guided shamanic meditation.

Apothecary Tinctura

Photo by Apothecary Tinctura

2900 E. 6th Ave., Denver

If you’re an aspiring herbalist whether for health or witchy potion making Apothecary Tinctura is the place. This herbal shop has been around for over 20 years and is both a shop and clinic helping clients to heal their ailments through a holistic approach. Here, you can find bulk herbs from A to Z as well as tons of herbal tinctures. In addition, handmade essential oils, herbal extracts and a even section full of healthy chocolate bars and tarot cards. It holds workshops weekly pertaining to different topics around health and spirituality. Be a healthy witch, folks.

Rosehouse Botanicals

Photo by Rosehouse

14 S. Broadway, Denver

One of the first shops I ever stepped foot in in Denver is Rosehouse Botanicals and it’s still one of my favorites. In the heart of South Broadway/Baker surrounded by thrift stores and bars is this gorgeous little shop. The colorful outside and the plants in the window draw you in and inside you’re immersed with beautiful plants and a magical witchy vibe. It is both an apothecary and botanical shop with a large selection of home and garden plants ranging from succulents to orchids to medicinal plants. In addition, it offers handmade teas, green beauty products, terrariums and other goods. It hosts a range of events and the owners even have a plant podcast called Up the Plants. It has a resident black cat as well.