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Castle View High School Wins Three Prestigious Bobby G Awards, Including Best Musical


Castle View High School in Castle Rock proudly accepted three prestigious Bobby G awards last night at the Ellie Calkins Opera House. The school was nominated for seven awards and claimed three awards for the second year in a row. This year, the school’s production of “Mamma Mia” claimed Best Scenic Design, Best Direction (by Rochelle Walter), and the crowning jewel: Best Production of a Musical.

Each of the nominees for Best Musical performed a production number from their respective show. Castle View cast members performed the spectacular closing number from “Mamma Mia,” which consisted of a medley of songs from the musical.

The Bobby G Awards recognize outstanding achievements by Colorado students and educators in theatre design, direction, performance, choreography, orchestration, technical production and overall production excellence. The Bobby G Awards are the Colorado regional awards for The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA).

CRJ to Co-Host Crawfish Boil & Music Fest June 15th at BURLY Brewing

CRJ in partnership with RMPS Landscaping and Burly Brewing Co will be hosting their 2nd crawfish boil in Castle Rock which will kick off the 1st Annual Castle Rock Music Fest & Crawfish Boili on Saturday June 15 at BURLY Brewing.

“The March 2nd Crawfish Boil was a huge success, even with the snow. After that event, we had a significant amount of interest to put on a second crawfish boil in the summer,” said Sean Hakes, CEO of CRJ.

CRJ partnered up with RMPS Landscaping and BURLY Brewing to bring this annual event to Castle Rock.

To learn more about the 1st Annual Castle Rock Music Fest and Crawfish Boil, and to get your discounted ‘pre-sale’ crawfish tickets, click here.

Click here for pics of our Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil

What is the CRJ Local Business Alliance?

Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce

The Castle Rock Local Business Alliance (LBA) is picking up steam. It’s a grassroots effort designed to educate the local residents of Castle Rock on the importance of shopping local, first. Additionally, the LBA offers incredible co-op marketing initiatives, continuing education, advocacy and an overall alliance between local business owners in Castle Rock.

As Castle Rock continues to prosper, more and more out-of-town businesses are taking market share away from those who work and invest their money back into the local economy – that’s one of the reasons the LBA exists.

What type of organization is the CRJ – Local Business Alliance?

The Local Business Alliance is a professional trade association between local business owners who share similar challenges including marketing, bookkeeping, adapting to new technologies, fighting to stay relevant and more.

The $200/annual LBA Membership dues go to co-op marketing funds for social media, print, events and general awareness, education, and advocacy in addition to other expenses related to the LBA.

Do more for less. At the CRJ-LBA, we understand many small businesses don’t have the budget for high-cost professional services. The Alliance Co-Op allows the opportunity for locally owned businesses of all shapes and size to participate.

To learn more or to sign up, click here.

9 Hemp Oil Benefits

9 Hemp Oil Benefits

Hemp Oil (aka CBD Oil) is exploding in not only Castle Rock, but around the globe sought after benefits for all walks of life in just about every situation imaginable.

Here are the top 9 hemp oil benefits! (in no particular order).

  1. Hemp Oil Supports Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails.
  2. Healing benefits
  3. Source of Excellent Nutrition for Your Brain
  4. Assists With Pain, Anxiety, and Sleep
  5. Improves Mood
  6. Supports the Immune System
  7. Mercury-Free Fatty Acid Supplement
  8. Balanced Hormones
  9. Excellent Nutrition for Your Brain

In 2006 I was involved in a pretty life altering event – I was shot in the head in an accidental shooting. That accidental shooting left painful memories, a year or so with limited vision and TBI related anxiety I will never recover from.

I was first introduced to CBD / Hemp Oil several years ago when nothing else seemed to work. Almost immediately, I felt a sense of peace. This was one of the first moments in years that I was able to get deep sleep, and let my guard down – and relax.

CBD Oil works for many different people in many different ways. For me, I use it when I’m feeling anxious, or have a lack of sleep. Due to my injuries, I’ve had a hard time coping to little things in life like coping with my kids screaming. Life is good . Enjoy it – it’s too short.

Who is Philip S. Miller?

Photo Credit: NickLucey.com

Who was the man whose name adorns not only our town library, but also the indoor/outdoor recreation complex?

Philip S. Miller started his humble beginnings in Peoria, Illinois in 1895. Shortly thereafter, his father, a butcher by trade, moved the family to Denver to open his own meat market. Following in his father’s footsteps, Philip worked as a butcher for several years and helped expand his family’s business with the assistance of some business partners. Eventually they were able to open shops in both Kiowa and Castle Rock.

If You’ve Been Thinking About Trying Z’Abbracci, Read This First…

Z'abbraci's Pizza Pasta Tap House
If you’ve been thinking about trying Z’Abbracci, read this first…

Is it crazy that we went to Z’Abbracci and did NOT order pizza? I mean, I wanted to, I really did… but their menu had way too many other enticing options, so we went in a different direction, and now I can’t wait to go back and try their pizza… and parmesan puffs… and maybe also Brunch on a Saturday or Sunday. OK, I admit, I’m smitten!

The short version is: Z’Abbracci offers a lively atmosphere for families, friends, groups, and date; attentive, knowledgeable service in timely fashion; excellent tasting food — well-seasoned, perfectly cooked, amazingly flavorful; and about average value for this style of dining experience here in Castle Rock. 

Now here’s the full monty for those who crave the details: 

Z’Abbracci’s decor is simple and welcoming – reclaimed wood, farmhouse casual, with moderate noise level for a packed Saturday night. We were seated promptly in a booth near the kitchen. Personally, I love to sit near an open kitchen because it really gives you a sense of a restaurant’s true vibe when you get to see the staff in action during a busy service. This was one of the most zen kitchen staffs I’ve seen – everyone stayed focused on their work, moving at a fast clip but without appearing stressed, and were cordial to each other – no yelling, no egos, and the only drama were the occasional flames leaping from the grill. Our server was also super chill, very knowledgeable about the menu, and struck that sweet spot balance between being attentive but not annoying.

Z’Abbracci's Appetizers

A restaurant’s atmosphere and service are all fine and good, but let’s face it – it’s really about the FOOD and the FLAVORS and this is where Z’Abbracci’s really shines. We started with a couple apps: risotto bites (arancini) and fried artichoke quarters with a yummy lemon aioli for dipping. Those were some of the best arancini I’ve had… and I’m half Italian and grew up in New Orleans, so the bar is set pretty dang high. The arancini were fried perfectly with crispy outside and creamy amazing inside, and this app is the perfect portion size to share.

Z’Abbracci's Antipasto

Next up I ordered the Antipasto salad and added blackened shrimp – I know, it’s kinda weird to add shrimp to a chopped Italian salad, but I’m so glad I went for it – those shrimp were bursting with flavor and expertly cooked. Be advised, the full sized salad is huge – I took half of it home (after I ate all the shrimp, of course!)

Z’Abbracci's Parmesan

The hubby ordered the chicken parmesan with linguine and marinara – the chicken was super moist, the sauce was amazing and the pasta was perfectly al dente. They have a nice wine menu, and he ordered a pinot noir that made him quite happy.

Z’Abbracci's Canoli

I don’t often order dessert in a restaurant, but since I am Italian, I couldn’t pass up cannoli. If you’ve ever had authentic cannoli, you know they are NEVER meant to be stuffed ahead of time, as the ricotta filling makes the shell soft, flaccid, and (frankly) disgusting. I checked with our server before I ordered and she assured me their cannoli were always stuffed to order, so I figured I’d give it a shot, and those cannoli did not disappoint! The shells are dipped in chocolate, so they stay extra crispy and perfect, and yes, they were filled to order with a creamy espresso ricotta and served alongside two scoops of gelato. The only thing that would have made this dish better was pistachio gelato (they only have vanilla and chocolate) but when I mentioned that to our server, she explained that they avoid nuts as much as possible since so many individuals are allergic.

Z’Abbracci's Tiramasu

Be forewarned – the desserts are huge! You could easily order 2 desserts to share amongst a table of 4-5 people and everyone would have plenty. My husband was torn between NY cheesecake and tiramisu but ultimately went with the tiramisu. I personally prefer a higher ratio of ladyfingers to mascarpone whip, but it’s fair to say I’m nitpicking here because the espresso flavor was strong and satisfying and I may or may not have had as many bites as my darling husband was willing to spare. The whole thing arrives drizzled in gorgeous chocolate and it’s about the size of a paving brick so either plan on sharing or taking some home for later.

Z’Abbracci's Pizza Pasta Tap House

The entire meal was Instagram-worthy and I know we will be back to enjoy this local gem again and again. 

Z’abbracci’s Website: https://www.zabbracci.com/

Top Engagement Ring Styles for 2019

Top Engagement Ring Styles of 2019

An engagement ring is one of the single most important pieces of jewelry that anyone will ever buy or wear! It is the ring that you’ve dreamt of your entire life, every time you walked past a jewelry store or looked at pictures of newly engaged couples in your favorite magazine. It symbolizes the love that two people have for each other and should capture the overall tone of your relationship. With so many styles to choose from, including halo rings, solitaire styles, three-stone rings, and many more, the options for engagement rings are virtually endless. In the past year, certain styles have risen in popularity. Let’s take a look at the top 5 engagement ring styles of 2018.

Gemstone Rings

Gemstone Rings

Gemstone engagement rings can be reflective of your personality, and truly tell a story about who you are. Whether you prefer morganite, sapphires, or rubies, the fact remains that a gemstone engagement ring is absolutely breathtaking. Unique in their own way, such as John Atencio’s Signature Morganite Ring, a gemstone engagement ring is one of the top styles of 2018. In this style, an attention-getting gemstone is surrounded by smaller diamonds that add plenty of sparkle and fire. Whether you choose to have the gemstone of your choice be the main focus, or choose a center diamond with gemstone accents, colored gemstone rings have been one of the top choices of the year. Let the ring be reflective of your tastes, as there is no end to how they can be designed. When you have a gemstone engagement ring, you will know that your ring is definitely one of a kind.

Three-Stone Rings

Ever since Prince Harry put that stunning three-stone engagement ring on Meghan Markle’s finger, soon-to-be engaged couples everywhere have been searching for this simple yet elegant design which features three diamonds on a simple band. Whether you choose a round cut, princess cut, or any other diamond shape, the beauty of this engagement ring style speaks for itself. The three stones are typically around the same size and are the same shape, with each one complimenting the beauty of the others. 

Solitaire Round Cut Rings

Solitaire Round Cut Rings

As one of the top styles of 2018, this is one that certainly has some staying power! The solitaire round cut ring is classic and simple, showcasing one beautiful stone that symbolizes your love. This ring is perfect for those who want an elegant look with one special stone that represents everything wonderful about their relationship. The brilliant cut shines almost as bright as the love of the one who wears it. 

Rings of Rose Gold

Rose Gold Rings

Gaining significant popularity in recent months, a diamond or colored gemstone set in rose gold is an excellent choice for an engagement ring. It breaks tradition, yet does so gracefully. For this style, you can have the stone shape of your choice, in a style that matches your personality for a look that will be admired forever. It doesn’t matter if you choose a solitaire ring, a halo ring, or a ring with side stones, as there is no wrong way to wear this style.

Vintage Engagement Rings

Vintage Engagement Ring

This style has always been considered beautiful and is certainly one of the top styles of 2018. With its classic and timeless look, the vintage engagement ring is unique and conveys the message that love has no beginning or end. This ring can be set in the metal of your choice, with any stone shape that you prefer. Its style is elaborate yet appealing, dating hundreds of years. The look is as unsurpassable as the person who wears it!

Looking for more ideas? Check out JohnAtencio.com today!

Watch out Hallmark! There’s a New Sheriff in Town

Meet Rylee Carlson!

Rylee is an incredibly creative teen. She’s a senior at Castle View High School and currently heads the scenic paint set design for the theatre program.

Hand-drawn Christmas Cards by Rylee Carlson

Not long ago, Rylee started created homemade greeting cards for her friends and family. Her Dad, Nick took notice and with excitement encouraged her to start selling them for the holidays and, she did!

If you’re late to the Christmas party, no need to worry! There are still cards available for purchase at Briccys Coffee located at 140 S Wilcox St Ste C.

Need more? No problem, Rylee said she can also make custom orders. 

Cards run for $4/ea or $10 for 3 cards.

Castle Rock Food & Drink to Launch Live Web TV Series Featuring Local Restaurants, Bars & Pubs

The popular social media group, Castle Rock Food & Drink will kick off its live web TV series featuring local restaurants, bars, and pubs in Castle Rock on Jan 14, 2019. 

The series will be hosted by Brandon Cant from Coast2Coast Cooking in an interview/review style format. During the show, he will be tasting the food, sipping drinks, cheering on patrons, and uncovering the secrets of Castle Rock’s food & drink scene. 

“This is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said CRJ, CEO – Sean Hakes.

“We’ve upgraded all of our technology and capabilities to ensure viewers have an incredible experience,” he added. 

Shows will air on social media on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from Jan – May. 

Food & Drink businesses who are interested in hosting a live remote can fill out our interest form here: https://form.jotform.com/83507479756169/

3 Types of Ski Lessons


Are you ready to zoom down the mountain and embrace the wind whizzing past your face? If you’re ready to get skiing, you need to start at Step 1 – the basics. Enrolling yourself in any ski lessons will help you progress much more quickly than teaching yourself, but there are many options out there, which one is right for you? Let’s learn about the different types of ski lessons and the benefits of each.

Three Types of Ski Lessons

Ski School

Ski school is the most popular type of ski lesson because it is affordable, effective, and available. Most major ski and snowboard resorts have their ski schools right on the mountain, so once you’re finished, you can test your skills. Don’t expect a lot of one-on-one instructor time in ski school as there’s usually one or a few instructors for several people.

The best thing that ski school does is give you a solid foundation of skiing skills. The lessons, which last from a couple to a few hours, will teach you about your skis and poles, how to get in and out of skis, steering, starting and stopping, getting on and off the lift, and more. Everyone is encouraged to try ski school.

Small Group/Extended Lessons

If you’ve mastered the basics but want to learn the next steps from the pros, you can enroll in a small group or advanced lessons. These lessons may cover backcountry skiing, moguls, slalom, skiing through trees, extreme jumps, and more. If you want to get to the next level safely and effectively advanced lessons are your ticket. Advanced lessons are offered at most ski resorts and nearby ski shops. Advanced lessons are more expensive than ski school.

One-on-One Private Lessons

If you want to hit the slopes in the fastest way possible – a private one-on-one instructor is your best bet. One-on-one lessons from a skilled instructor focus all the instructor’s efforts on building your skills as quickly as possible so you can have fun on the slopes. Private lessons are the most expensive of these three lesson types.

Regardless of which type of ski lessons you take, you’re much more likely to progress faster with lessons than on your own. If you want to spend more time zooming down a run and less time fetching a lost ski or picking yourself up enroll yourself in lessons. Ski school, small-group, and one-on-one private lessons will help keep you upright.

Ready to tackle learning how to handle the slopes? If you’re in Vail, consider Vail ski rentals before buying your own gear.