Ritual your way: an amateur's guide to astrology, tinctures and worshipping celestial bodies

Categories: Breeality Bites

Hay girl! (I was talking to the moon.)
If anything, the Pink Moon and lunar eclipse last night were a great break in the status-update monotony that usually plagues social networks -- for a few hours, Scandal, Game of Thrones and the cockroach of all television shows, Breaking Bad, were not dominating newsfeed conversation. Instead, I was pleasantly greeted by dozens of camera-phone shots of the moon through the stages of the eclipse as my friends shared their views from whatever part of the world they were in. I was so moved by the Internet, I actually went outside to see the blood-colored celestial body in real life.

Of course, I had already gone outside earlier in the evening to talk to the moon and put my crystals out to be cleansed and charged overnight.

See also: Welcome to hell: Being a chemical queen in a world of all-natural goddesses

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Five things Colorado transplants should know about springtime in the Rockies

Categories: Breeality Bites

Welcome to Colorado! If you've been here for at least three months, you've already enjoyed some of our famously indecisive weather, days that include snowy mornings and fifty-plus-degree afternoons. Although spring is officially here, in this beautiful state the transition period between winter and summer, and, similarly, between summer and winter, can be hard to pinpoint -- much less prepare for.

That "300 days of sunshine!" factoid that we natives like to throw around is definitely probably maybe true, but there are still a few other weather realities that transplants need to deal with. So I've compiled a short list of things you need to know in order to survive your first springtime in the Rockies. (Don't worry, it doesn't include buying another pair of ugly-ass shoes just for the season, even though we're the state responsible for the invention of Crocs. Sorry about that.)

See also: Five things transplants should know about Colorado weather

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April Fool's Day is fun, if you're good at it

Facebook, we can do better than this joke.
Within the first few weeks of our relationship, my boyfriend and I had told each other everything. I think that in the modern cultural lore of love, one of the ways a true "connection" with someone is established is if you have the comfort and desire to air all of your dirty laundry to them. I did this and so did he, rehashing past relationships, personal struggles and stories from childhood we had never shared with anyone else. So I was surprised when, after a few more weeks had passed, he revealed that he had two children from past relationships. And by surprised I mean fucking furious.

See also: Valentine's Day: The braggart's holiday

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Happy 40th birthday, Casa Bonita: We love you so much we could puke

Kate Levy for Westword.
South Park exposed our secret. After an episode aptly titled "Casa Bonita" aired in 2003, the existence of Casa Bonita became known to the world outside of Colorado.

Up until that point, Casa Bonita was mostly a regional gem. If you grew up in Colorado, chances are you celebrated at least one birthday at the 50,000 square-foot Mexican Village/restaurant inside of a Lakewood strip mall. I'm not just talking elementary school birthdays where you dressed up like a Tex-Mex "criminal" and got to pose inside of a jail cell with your bogus loot and fake booze for a sepia-toned "Wanted" poster; I also mean adult birthdays like my own 21st, when I threw up into a planter after one too many Casa Bonita margaritas.

But now it's time to celebrate Casa Bonita's own big birthday, as the glorious pink palace on West Colfax turns forty years old on Thursday, March 27. If a monumental event like four decades of being Colorado's most fascinating eating establishment isn't enough to persuade you to take a trip there, I hope I can convince you with some of my own feelings on one of the best places in Colorado to eat sopapillas while watching a gun fight between a kid in cowboy hat and a guy in a gorilla costume.

See also: How to survive Casa Bonita, the world's weirdest Mexican restaurant

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Ladylike hobbies: Photographing abortion protesters one Instagram at a time

Sup, dudes?
The hardest thing about being a feminist is the long hours. It's kind of like having a full-time job on top of having a regular job, because you're constantly having to watch your back and educate yourself and others on what lawmakers/the Internet/the general voting public is doing to undo certain unalienable rights. Like most woman's work, a feminist's work is never done. Today on the docket, we're looking at the potential for another round of rights loss, as the Colorado General Assembly will be discussing abortion-ban bill HB 14-1133, a bill that would make it a felony for physicians to perform abortion services or prescribe emergency contraception -- and could result in up to twelve years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Sounds crazy, right? Well, welcome to Feminism 101, a place where even the most insane ideas are treated as reality.

Don't get me wrong: Like all work, feminism can be fun. That's why I've decided to take my little hobby of amateur photography and use it to document the folks who protest my right to have control over my own body. That's right, pro-lifers, I'm looking for you! I want to photograph as many of you as possible and let the world know what you're up to.

See also: Breeality Bites: Dismantling sexist culture, one irrelevant strip-club sign at a time

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Dismantling sexist culture, one irrelevant strip-club sign at a time

Thanks for the approval, Dandy Dan's.
I drive by Dandy Dan's every day on my way home and the sign out front sometimes catches my eye -- and not just because it has that weird, glamour-shot image of an interesting-looking woman above the marquee. It's the message on the marquee that often grabs my attention. Last year, it had a spring-themed greeting: "The early bird catches the stripper." Or during the Stock Show, it beckoned with "Welcome Stockmen," complete with a taxidermied bull tied to the sign pole.

Lately, the sign for the strip club just says, "Your wife said its okay." I immediately noticed this because the message was grammatically incorrect (or maybe the apostrophe just fell off). But as I continued to pass it day after day, I started to wonder: Who is this wife and what needs to be okay? More important, who is this sign really for?

See also: Goodbye, little sister, and farewell, totally '80s-era Shotgun Willie's

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Denver is no longer the Wild West, but you can still chase the gold rush in Victor, Colorado

A friend of mine recently posted a video on Instagram of downtown Denver with the caption "I'm going to want to remember this Denver." While his ten-second panel of images was more of a humorous jab at things like the grossness of the 16th Street Mall, he also had some shots of the Paramount Theatre and Civic Center Park, older spots whose beauty can be captured whether you're taking photos of them with a nice camera or a crappy phone. As the wave of progress in this city continues to sucker-punch me right in the nostalgic part of my gut, I have an anxious desire to photograph as many of these relics as I can with my own crappy phone.

But this past weekend, I had a chance to see what Denver might have been like if not for all of our progress: I took a trip to Victor, Colorado, a town with a population of under 400. To put it in perspective, a little over a century ago, Victor was the fourth-largest city in the state. That made me wonder: What if Denver had become a casualty of the Gold Rush, too?

See also: Here, transplants, have Denver: It's all yours (except for Hooters)

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Remembering All-V's All Variety and the small-town feel of a strip mall in the big city

I used to have this recurring dream where I was walking along a strip mall in my grandparents' neighborhood of Mayfair/Hale. I was always heading to La Bola, a Mexican restaurant we used to go to when I was a kid. I would walk up to the door in broad daylight, pull on its oversized wrought-iron handle, and look into the dark and dank bar room beyond. But that was as far as I got -- I would always wake up before I could really see what the interior looked like.

About a decade ago, I made my roommate go with me to this strip mall to see if La Bola was still there and if it looked like that dream I couldn't seem to finish. It didn't: La Bola was gone, replaced by an Italian restaurant. I opened the door and there was no bar room, no mysterious dim and cool space to step into -- just a regular restaurant.

I was in that same neighborhood again yesterday, after I heard that All-V's All Variety had closed after almost half a century on East Eighth Avenue. As with La Bola, I wanted to go inside the sub shop one last time, but no such luck. It was done.

See also: New owner of Mayfair Center to renovate the mid-century modern shopping area

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Valentine's Day: The braggart's holiday

How every day feels to me.
I don't even remember what I was doing on Valentine's Day 2013. That's because I'm the kind of person who lets the individual feeling of each holiday be dictated by my own current selfish standing in the world. Last year, I was so far from being in love that Valentine's Day could just fuck right off.

Born a cynic, a Catholic and a Virgo, being in love has proven to be a rather difficult, uncomfortable and by most accounts, unnecessary thing. But not long after V-Day passed last year, that rat bastard of love found me and turned me into a most obnoxious and outspoken advocate for the emotion and lifestyle that is love.

See also: Casablanca: Here's looking at you in Denver this week

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, heroin and the secret club of addiction

Categories: Breeality Bites

For weeks after Heath Ledger's body was found in an apartment in New York City in 2008, curious folks would come into the store in SoHo where I worked and ask, "Do you know where Heath's building is?" Of course I knew where it was; everyone who worked or lived between Houston and Canal streets knew exactly where 421 Broome Street was. But I pretended I didn't know. Their intrusiveness made my stomach hurt. Whose business was it to know where Heath died -- besides the people who actually knew and loved him?

When Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment this past Sunday, I felt like those nosy people. I wanted to know everything. Mostly because, like many deaths involving circumstances of which people were unaware, his death felt unreal. How could this happen? How can someone who is under such a bright spotlight do heroin? These questions are complex. People are complex. Addicts are complex people.

See also: Amy Winehouse's passing a reminder: addicts are people too

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