A Denver Home Companion | boba air baby carrierA Denver Home Companion | boba air baby carrier A Denver Home Companion | boba air baby carrier A Denver Home Companion | boba air baby carrier A Denver Home Companion | boba air baby carrier

we’ve been wearing ramona in our Boba Carrier 4G since she was a wee one. it’s been jp’s go-to since the beginning and since ramona has gotten bigger and wants to be in and out more when i’m wearing her, it’s been the one i’ve gone to more and more as well. it’s also great for carrying her on hikes with us. so i was stoked when Boba offered to send me their BobaAir, a lighter, more compact version of their traditional boba Baby Carrier. this was perfect timing as our air travels to minnesota for thanksgiving would be the perfect time to try it out.

the BobaAir is different from the Boba 4G in that it is all nylon, completely lightweight (the 4G is lightweight too so i don’t know how they managed that!), and folds into itself into a zippered pouch that can easily be stashed in one’s bag or purse. traveling with ramona happens a lot and i’ve never been one to lug a stroller around. so finding a carrier that not only allows me to toss her up on my back so i can have hands free when needed (boarding!) but also is easy to carry along when i’m not using it (we aim to pack light light light) is a big plus.

we loved it. we traveled with just my purse and her little backpack, and when i needed her to stick close i just superman tossed her up on my back and we were off! when we had boarded the plane, i took her down, zipped up the boba, and chucked it in my purse (which still fit nicely under my seat).

i will say the 4G is still better for longer term carries (hikes and such) as it feels like there is more support there for the larger child. but sacrificing that for the ease of a small carrier that didn’t take up all my personal purse space was well worth it on shorter trips around the airport, boarding, and baggage claim.

items of note:

  • ramona’s arms in the boba look really weird and are how she likes them. i swear. she sticks them down and wiggles them around and even when we try to adjust them she tucks them in again. other children do better with their hands out of the carrier. that’s ok too!
  • forgive the photos. like i said we travel light, which means no big fancy camera was taken and so these were taken on my phone by jp at a time when ramona was going bonkers (um, naptime in an airport is impossible). 
  • coloradans: isn’t it awesome that boba is a boulder-based company?! support local as much as possible!
  • this post is not a sponsored post. boba did offer me a free carrier in exchange for my opinion, which is here and is completely my own. 

A Denver Home Companion | dram apothercary bread barA Denver Home Companion | dram apothercary bread bar

well i don’t have many photos of the goodies we consumed bc it was all just so yummy and we were having too good of a time to remember to snap a shot besides the group one you see. but lashley, koan, kimmy, ramona and I made our way up to silver plume (just a short drive west out of denver) to visit the increasingly popular bread bar, a functioning bar that also operates as a tasting room for dram apothecary. we were quite pleased. it’s adorable and quaint and classy. shea really makes a mean cocktail using her bitters or soda with her handcrafted syrups.

A Denver Home Companion | raspberry leaf tea w honey chamomile from dram apothecary

i brought home one of each of the bitters and have been putting dashes of the honey chamomile in all of my cups of raspberry leaf tea (regular consumption of this tea is recommended for pregnant women).

if you’re looking for an easy and worthwhile day trip, head on over to silver plume. make sure to check their facebook page for hours and any random closings.

this week, for the small business series, i speak w eva teague who owns and runs plowshares community farm, a small-scale pig farm in niwot outside of boulder. eva and i have chicago connections and i kept running into her at the boulder farmer’s market where she sells her heritage berkshire pork. it is the best. what eva is doing –raising little pigs outdoors on organic, whole food until they’re big, happy ones and then offering this meat to the public– is so important. if you haven’t been living under a rock then you know about the food crisis going on and you know we definitely need farmers like eva.

jp and ramona and i took a visit out to the farm this summer to say hello to eva and her pigs. she told us all about the production, how she got into it, what her plan for the future are.

A Denver Home Companion | plowshares community farm

|| what is plowshares? ||

Plowshares Community Farm is my farm. Currently we produce pastured Berkshire pork products but we’ll we expanding and diversifying next year to include mixed vegetables and a few other things. It’ll be a huge leap! I think people get confused by the “Community” part of the name, but it basically means that I’ll always be producing for the local community. I don’t want to get so big that I have to sell through Whole Foods and won’t have the chance to meet the people buying my product.

|| how did you get into this? what was your inspiration? ||

I worked on vegetable farms in Boulder for three years before getting my first pigs. I wanted to start my own project, and the people who I worked for at the time were vegetarians so I chose pork in part because it wouldn’t compete with what they were doing. Plus, pigs are fun and funny, and well-raised pork is delicious!

A Denver Home Companion | plowshares community farm

|| what had the process been from conception to execution? ||

When people ask me how I got started I tell them that I bought some baby pigs and figured it out from there. Unlike farming vegetables, you don’t need a lot of equipment like a tractor to start raising pigs or most livestock–although I sure could use a tractor now to manage the 18 acres I’m currently leasing. I think the decision I made early on to raise heritage Berkshires rather than some of the hybrid breeds that are more readily available in this area was really important: I started with a focus on quality that I plan to maintain as I expand the farm.

|| has starting and running this business been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been? ||

I think anyone who’s started a business for the first time has probably had a similar experience: there’s so much you don’t even know you don’t know, and then you just have to figure things out: from where to get funding to how to do your books to how to manage the pasture your pigs are on. There are always problems to be solved which means there’s always some challenge to keep me busy!

On a different note, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many of my customers seek out my stand at market or even come out to the farm to buy pork in the winter. Their support means so much to me!

A Denver Home Companion | plowshares community farm

|| are you doing this solo or you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand? ||

The business is mine but I’ve had a ton of help along the way, especially from my friend Mo McKenna. You’ll see her most Saturday mornings working with me at the Boulder Farmers’ Market.

|| who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance? ||

I made my own website using a Wix template. I came up with the idea for my logo–the happy pig in a green heart–and painted it on a banner that I hang at market. The digital version of the logo was created by Christopher Smith of “Tiny” (tiny house) documentary fame.

|| when did you start/open for business?||

I got my first baby pigs in March 2011 and started selling pork at the Boulder Farmers’ Market in August 2012.

A Denver Home Companion | plowshares community farm

|| where can your goods be purchased? ||

The best time to buy my pork is Saturdays at the Boulder Farmers’ Market: I bring the whole range of cuts to each market unless I’m out of something. We don’t have a regular storefront at the farm because I work a job in town and am gone a lot of the time, but if coming to the Boulder Market doesn’t work for you then you can contact me and set up a time to meet out at the farm.

|| what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver-area? or would you like to see in denver-area? ||

I’m especially proud of my best friend Jen Anderson-Tarver, who is an amazing home-birth midwife in the Denver area. I can’t imagine anyone else so gentle, knowledgeable, and caring as she is. Check out her practice at www.newleafmidwifery.com.

|| what’s your favorite place for food? ||

I work at a restaurant but try to cook at home when I can. I’m a little out of practice right now, but I hope to get back into the swing of it when I leave my job next spring to work on the farm full-time.

A Denver Home Companion | plowshares community farmA Denver Home Companion | plowshares community farm

thanks, eva! readers, next time you need some pork, consider contacting eva to buy it directly from the farm. you’ll be supporting an incredibly local company that’s providing the best tasting pork you’ll ever have.

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this week, for the small business series, let’s have a chat with koan of huckleberry roasters, a denver coffee roaster. i love coffee. i love denver. and huckleberry is doing it just right. they had me at one shot of their blue orchid, an exquisite espresso i first tasted two years ago. it remains my favorite espresso to date.

A Denver Home Companion | Huckleberry Roasters

1. what is huckleberry roasters?

Huckleberry Roasters is a two year old coffee roasting company from Denver, owned and operated by Koan Goedman and Mark Mann. We use our well-sourced, carefully roasted coffee as a vessel to encourage people to enjoy slowly (rather than hurry up) and to create community through discussion and interaction. We think sharing a cup of coffee can lead to meaningful shared experiences and want to offer that to as many people as possible.

2. how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?

Huckleberry’s formation is rooted in coffee. We worked at shops together, became close friends, and decided that starting Huckleberry Roasters was a great way to bridge the gap between our own entrepreneurial spirits, our love of coffee, and our desire to create community. Although Denver is still trying to figure itself out in a lot of ways, it’s filled with such immense talent! We’re surrounded by people seeking perfection in their fields (foodbicyclesbeerartphotography, etc.) that it’s not hard for us to seek perfection in our own.

3. what had the process been from conception to execution?

To borrow a phrase from a friend, “It’s a slow burn.” To be totally honest, getting our own brick and mortar location has taken a lot longer than we anticipated. The longer wait had its benefits too. It has allowed us to build strong wholesale relationships and we’ve had more time to improve our roasting. About seven months ago we found a space for our flagship location; a long-term home for both our roasting operations and a cafe. To our surprise, we were also offered a small cafe space within an innovative new development that was too good to pass up. It took a little longer than we would have liked, but it’s getting really exciting now!

A Denver Home Companion | Huckleberry Roasters

4. has creating/developing/launching/sustaining this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?

It’s a slow burn. Ha ha…it’s a versatile phrase, right? In terms of building and growing this business into something successful, maybe we were a little naive in the beginning. We’ve had our share of heavy and humbling moments, but we’re proud of what we’ve created and look forward to what’s to come. For me (Koan) it’s been a fascinating journey of managing expectations, building some self confidence, and finding the balance of when to sit back patiently and when to push beyond a comfort zone.

5. are you doing this solo or you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand?

While the day-to-day operations of Huckleberry are handled by Mark and Koan, much of our growth has come from the support, constant encouragement ,and constructive criticism of the Denver coffee scene. For example, Crema Coffee House took a bit of a gamble by featuring us prominently while we were still trying to dial in our own product, but I’d like to think we’ve both benefited from the relationship.

6. who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance?

So far we’ve done branding, designing, and packaging ourselves. Mark has a background in design, so he took the lead and developed a brand that’s resonated really well with Denver. Now that our business is growing up, we’ve turned to one of the best designers in the business, Mackey Saturday, to help us through a rebrand and take us to another level; one that will hopefully play well on a national level…someday. We’ve just started the process, but the initial concepts Mackey has presented to us have been exhilarating and inspiring. We can’t wait to share them!

A Denver Home Companion | Huckleberry Roasters

7. what is launch date for your two new shops?

Since we’re still early in the process, the launch dates for the two shops are still a little hard to pin down. The flagship location on 4301 Pecos Street, where we will house our new 15k Giesen Coffee Roaster and have a cafe, is tentatively scheduled for early Fall. The 2500 Larimer Street location, which we’re excitedly sharing with some incredible neighbors including Topo DesignsWork & Class  Pizzeria BastaCirro and more, will open later in the Fall. Until then, people can consistently find Huckleberry Roasters at these wonderful cafes: Crema Coffee House, Denver Bicycle Cafe and Two Rivers. Check our Facebook for other places.

8. where can you be found, IRL and interwebs?

huckleberryroasters.com. Also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,

9. what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver? or would you like to see in denver?

Seems like 2013 has been and will continue to be a defining year for Denver. So many cool spots opening and so many great people doing great things. We are having lots of quick breakfasts at Crema Coffee House (pastry program keeps improving and now all bread made in house!). We’re eating lots of lunches at Curtis Park Delicatessen and Masterpiece Delicatessen. To close out the day, I would say that we’re at TRVE Brewing more often than we’d like to admit. All of those places provide constant inspiration.

A Denver Home Companion | Huckleberry Roasters

10. what’s your favorite shop in denver? favorite place for food? neighborhood?

My favorite shop in Denver, at the moment, is Steadbrook. It’s seems to be the perfect example of the direction that Denver is headed. A place that would be at home in San Francisco or New York, but still fits perfectly in Denver. A place that blends beautifully curated, responsibly made goods and excellent coffee service with creative, thoughtful design….all with the intention of giving the people of Denver a special experience.

[photos c/o luca venter, jake belvin, and huckleberry]

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this week, for the small business series, i’ve got nicole and christie from hey! party collective answering some questions to tell you a little bit about their awesome event-planning/party-throwing denver company. these ladies have helped me out with a baby shower, a thanksgiving feast, and a first birthday. i’ve also attended a bridal shower and a wedding gussied up by them.

like many small businesses, their start was a labor of love. it’s been inspiring to watch them start from the ground up: throwing parties for friends, planning events for free, building their amazing portfolio through hard work and an amazing store of creative ideas. i’m thrilled to say that all of their hard work has paid off and this summer they have a schedule filled with weddings and parties and shenanigans, based greatly, i believe, on their success at creating a unique business that sets them apart from others in the same industry.

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

1. what is hey! party?

We are a party planning dynamic duo, intent on pushing the envelope, but keeping it sophisticated. We are out here trying to show brides they don’t have to have a ho-hum wedding. We are also notorious dance party starters, so that’s just a bonus! Who doesn’t love a good dance party?!?

Our goal is to inspire clients with fresh ideas, to be themselves, to push the envelope, to think outside the box. Our clients are those who are looking for something different, bold, hip, and edgy, and aren’t finding it in your typical event planning operation. Because of this, we try to work with venues with a unique atmosphere, promote and collaborate with like-minded industry badasses…(who actually are badasses), stay on top of rad new trends, and find styles that cater to the particular tastes of our clients.

2. how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?

Christie and I were both were always finding a reason to throw a party or host dinners or help friends out with their events. We just loved to do it. And we always had big dreams for decorations and details – fine for professional party planning, not so much for a no-budget little house party. You (Emily) finally told me quite literally to quit my day job. So I did. And thankfully Christie was interested in giving this thing a shot with me! We both had the same vision for Hey! Party, and we are a great combination of creativity and organization. Christie and I both felt that Denver was in need of a little kick in the pants when it came to creative event design, with the use of unique venues, bold decor, and disregarding the conventional trends – especially in weddings.

3. what had the process been from conception to execution? 

We started out small, planning parties for friends who were huge supporters of our endeavor, or hauling our custom photo booth here and there. Soon, we started building our brand, building our portfolio, and getting calls from people who heard about us through word of mouth or networking. There has also been an evolution of what types of services we provide and for how much. We’re quickly learning how to value our time, project by project. It’s true that you learn from your mistakes. Ha!

From the start, Christie and I have known that our passion is in the styling and design of events. We are extremely organized planners and list makers – that is essential in our line of work – but you should see the sparkle in our eyes when someone hires us and gives us creative freedom.

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

4. has creating/developing/launching/sustaining this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?

I don’t think we knew what to expect. Last year we really tried to develop our portfolio and get some great events under our belt, and we got some great feedback. This year, we have a bunch of weddings on the roster, have met some great people in the industry who are also thinking outside of the box, and we’re branching out when it comes to marketing. Next year is already looking exciting as well. Fingers crossed, we’re hoping to have an office/studio space by next summer – which is a HUGE step for us.

Our challenge as new, small business owners is that Christie and I both still have to work some semblance of “day jobs” to keep ourselves financially afloat. We are looking forward to Hey! Party Collective being our only gig and as long as things continue we will be Hey! Partying all over Denver.

5. are you doing this solo or you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand?

Right now it’s Christie and I who represent Hey! Party Collective. We decided to name ourselves a collective because we want to build a “dream team” of vendors who, while not necessarily work at the same company, team up together often to pull off the raddest events in Denver. If you hire Hey! Party, you’ll know who we’re bringing to the table and you won’t be disappointed because you’ll know we have carefully curated our group of creatives and party pros. Cooperation will be seamless and your event will be ridiculously creative.

6. who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance?

Brandon Proff created our logo and initial branding/identity, and he is also helping us develop branding for an exciting wedding event this fall. My husband, Zach Lowery, has done our website development.

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

7. where can you be found?

Online, of course. And Facebook. But we mostly work out of coffee shops like Black Eye Coffee or Crema. If you ever see us around, come say hi!

8. what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver? or would you like to see in denver?

Stephanie at Lalé Floral Design is doing some amazing arrangements and she’s just awesome. We also love the design, letterpress, and silkscreen print work from Banshee Press. And we LOVE working with Kathryn Bacalis Photography – soon to be Our Love Is Loud.

Nicole: I am anxiously anticipating the opening of Trader Joe’s and VooDoo Doughnut.

Christie: DOUGHNUTS!!

What we’d like to see:

A really good wedding DJ, event rental companies offering more options in their inventory (it’s all the same thing around here), and –the holy grail– the perfect event space in Denver. Still looking.

9. what are your favorite shops in denver? favorite places for food? neighborhoods?

Shops: Ironwood || Inspyre || I Heart Denver Store || Hazel & Dewey || Fancy Tiger Clothing || Gracie’s

Food: Pinche Tacos || The Populist || Hops & Pie || Sassafras

‘Hoods: Berkelely Neighboorhood and the Tennyson business district || Potter & Lower Highland Neighborhoods || Baker || RINO

A Denver Home Companion | hey! party collective

10. what do you have coming up?

rebel bells. an unconventional wedding fest! not your average wedding expo. take a look at the website and like us on facebook! the event is sunday, september 15th from 6-9 at the artwork network. pass on this info to any denver bride-to-bes that you know!

A Denver Home Companion | rebel bells