You’ve seen Stacy’s byline in several of our articles. We are lucky to have her as one of our in-house writers, and we wanted to formally introduce you to her and offer a peek into her world.
You’re from Wyoming. How did you land in Denver and ultimately in Wash Park?
I was born in Denver, but my family moved to Casper, Wyoming when I was five years old. I feel like a Wyoming native, though. I grew up in Casper and I went to the University of Wyoming. GO POKES.
Growing up, my family often traveled to Denver to visit relatives and to go to Elitch’s and Casa Bonita and to shop. For me, moving to Denver was not a big stretch – many Wyomingites move to Colorado. Denver and Fort Collins are close to the state line and are big cities (compared to Casper and Cheyenne) and they have higher paying jobs, better healthcare, and more cultural opportunities. Colorado’s climate is much easier to handle as well. The first year after graduation, I lived in Houston and taught middle school for one year there, and then I moved back to Denver and have lived here ever since. My first apartment was near Cheesman, then I lived in Mayfair, then back to Cheesman, and then I got engaged and my husband and I bought a house together in West Wash Park. A few years after we had our daughters, we moved to our current house in East Wash Park because it had more space. Before I moved to this neighborhood, I thought that it was too “yuppie” and fancy, but now I just can’t bring myself to move away from the park. I enjoy the community-mindedness here – and the central location.
You have written some pieces for us in the past. How long have you been writing? Was this always a passion of yours?
I have always liked writing, but I haven’t dedicated much of my time or energy toward it over the years. I need a deadline or an assignment to stay motivated to write. For the past several years, I have been working on a master’s degree in Spanish at the University of Colorado – Denver on Auraria Campus. One of my favorite professors, Andrés Lema-Hincapie, has taught me a lot and has been encouraging about my writing and subject choices and has me translating, so lately I have been intensely focused on print media. Writing helps me organize my thoughts. It definitely helps that I haven’t had to work full-time for about the last decade. I haven’t been writing anything very creative – more just organizing my thoughts on random topics. I’m much better at writing than talking. I think I speak kind of strangely. Maybe I will start going around with post-it notes and write messages on them instead of talking to people from now on.
You have several Spanish teaching jobs. When did you begin speaking? Did you grow up in a bilingual home?
I did not grow up in a bilingual home. I’ve been studying Spanish since seventh grade. My maternal grandmother was born into a Spanish-speaking home in either New Mexico or Southern Colorado, but she denied her heritage and lost contact with her family. As a kid, when I found out that I was a little bit Chicana, I was so excited. In college, I wanted to study abroad in Spain, so I ended up majoring in Spanish Education. I love the feeling of being able to relate to more people on the planet because I can speak Spanish. Learning another language can be a humiliating experience for a shy girl like me and, for that matter, so can teaching. Both disciplines have helped me develop thicker skin. It has been hard work, but it’s cool to be able to reap the benefits now, in middle age, and to be able to hustle around teaching Spanish to people of all ages. I teach two days a week at a homeschool program in Douglas County, I have two after-school classes at Steele, and I recently started teaching a beginning class at UCD.
Not many people know this, and you won’t admit it, but you have an eye for interior design. Where do you find your influences?
I don’t know that I have a great eye for design in that my style probably doesn’t easily transfer to other people’s taste. I was raised in beige, conventional surroundings, so I craved color and layers and used things that had history. When it comes to influences on how I decorate, two of my dearest friends, who are inspiring and amazing designers, come to mind. Marcy Mitchell, who I met in college, is a self-taught design genius and an artist and she introduced me to thrifting, re-purposing, mixing things up and just doing things for the hell of it – from a design perspective – and not caring what people think. My other design friend, Kara White Monroe, who I’ve known since junior high, owns her own interior design business. She has more of a cohesive and disciplined style that is still eclectic, unexpected and full of bold colors. She has helped me immensely with my house.
I’ve been trying to be more of a minimalist – I’m failing. I’m a slob at heart, but learning about design has helped me to be more organized and tidy. I guess I’m a maximalist. I just love hunting for cositas. My house is slowly being taken over by plant babies.
There has been so much change in Denver in the last decade. What do you miss about “Old Denver” and what have you embraced about the progression?
I miss that I used to be able to go to old places like Carl’s, the Terminal Bar, the Breckenridge Brewery, the Purple Martini and the Giggling Grizzly and they were kind of isolated and stand out places that weren’t squished in between a bunch of other cool bars competing with each other. When there were fewer places to go out, it was more likely that I would run into someone I knew. Enoteca was the first wine and cigar bar and it felt so intimate and club-like and I remember thinking that Hemingway’s on South Gaylord was THE place to be on Thursday nights. I miss when Denver wasn’t so crowded and when it wasn’t such an ordeal to go skiing or hiking nearby . . . when I didn’t run into a construction site around every corner. Also, it used to be easier to go thrift shopping for house stuff than it is now.
I find it pretty exciting, though, that Denver is “on the map” and I love how the Denver Art Museum, the DCPA and the Botanic Gardens have been such a big part of that. It is fun to try out all of the new restaurants.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What three albums would you insist on taking with you?
I’m not very specific about albums and I hate narrowing things down – I’m a maximalist! But I would want to take The Redheaded Stranger or anything else by Willie Nelson, something atmospheric and electronic, like in the Focus genre on Spotify, and anything soulful and funky.
Pictured Below: Stacy’s paganistic, maximalist powder room