Colorado Vincentian Volunteers assist “poorest of the poor” in Denver


All aspects of the annual fund-raising mailing — from writing and design to printing and mailing — are donated so that all donations directly benefit CVV. 

About 20 years ago, I was awarded the Archdiocese of Denver Peacemaker’s Award for my writing about social justice issues. The same year, the Peacemaker’s Award also went to Mary Frances and Bill Jaster, who founded Colorado Vincentian Volunteers (CVV), a group of young, professional volunteers partnering with 20-some agencies in Denver serving people in need.

The Jasters recruited me as a volunteer to assist with communications, and ever since I’ve helped write and art-direct the annual fundraising mailing that generates support for the CVV mission of working with people in need. I deeply admire the Jasters and their Volunteers and have been happy to participate in a small way in their mission to work with the “poorest of the poor” in Denver’s inner city.

You can learn more about Colorado Vincentian Volunteers at this link.

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Rembrandt’s prints at Denver Art Museum

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Rembrandt’s only still-life print depicts a seashell that may have been part of the artist’s personal collection.

Rembrandt was not only one of the world’s finest painters and printmakers, he also was a clever entrepreneur. For the Denver Business Journal, I reported on the artist’s business plans and practices.

You can read the article at this link.

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Babylon Floral’s garden of otherworldly delights


Arthur Williams incorporates human beings into his outrageous floral designs.

Photo by Amanda Baker.

Denver Art Museum recognized Arthur Williams is one of the most creative floral designers on the planet and gave him not one, but two exhibitions. The first, in 2015, was a one-month creative residency; and the second, in 2018,  a one-night “Untitled” show. I reported on Arthur Williams for Colorado Expression magazine. “It’s a modern take on the country garden,” he said, “but I like to tie in unexpected elements.”



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Dispatch: And the Beat Goes On


Bradley J. Corrigan marches to the beat of a different drummer. Or, more accurately, he makes to the beat of his own drums. For Colorado Expression magazine, I interviewed the percussionist, who also is a philanthropist whose notion of harmony extends far beyond the stage and into the world.

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How container gardens can convert your balcony or patio into an oasis


Photos by Colleen Smith.

Container gardens yield many benefits — not the least of which are lovely, low-maintenance landscapes and fresh veggies bursting from small spaces.

“The biggest benefit is that container gardening is great for people without soil to grow in, whether they live in small spaces or have balconies, or HOAs that don’t allow changes to landscaping,” said Brien Darby, manager of urban food programs at Denver Botanic Gardens.

For more information, read the full article.

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Create an outdoor room with a pergola

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A pergola by Chad Beall of Tree Frog Woodworking Inc.

To add classic garden architecture and define an outdoor space, a pergola nails it. For homes or commercial spaces, pergolas deliver both form and function. Whether attached to a building or as a stand-alone structure, a pergola can provide privacy, shade, a ceiling of sorts to an outdoor room, a focal point and a support for vines.

For more information, read the full article.


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The Chocolate Therapist prescribes chocolate every day


Photo by Thomas Tallant. Courtesy of The Chocolate Therapist.

Once in a while, an assignment comes along that seems like a dream, and reporting on The Chocolate Therapist was one of them. When the job came in from Colorado Expression magazine, I responded, “Twist my arm.”

Julie Pech’s chocolate shop in Littleton is sweet, and her made-in-house chocolates some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Unusual combinations and pure chocolate – none of that fluffy, cloyingly sweet goo inside.

Julie taught me a lot about chocolate, including the fact that the world’s bulk supply of chocolate comes from Africa: the Ivory Coast and Ghana.

“The plant can only grow ten degrees north or south of the equator. It’s a hot, humid band around the earth,” she said. “Only 33 countries can grow it, and the only place in the US is Hawaii.”

Americans drive the chocolate market, Pech says. “Americans eat an average of 12 pounds of chocolate per year. The Irish eat 22 pounds and the Swiss 24, but there are so many more Americans so we’re consuming more pounds per country.”

But the sweetest ending to this story is that Julie prescribes dark chocolate every day as a health food. Two quick tips: if you’re eating chocolate for nutrition, go for 80 percent cocao content or higher. And if you’re eating chocolate for nutrition, opt for chocolate containing other superfoods such as dried cherries, cranberries, or blueberries.

Learn more about why chocolate is a superfood in my article in the new issue of Colorado Expression, now on newsstands, in hotel rooms and professional offices throughout the state.

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