406 Woman Business VOL.16 No.4

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Featured 12. Kylene Larson

Finance 8. What can a Certified Financial Planner do for you? 20. Renovation Home Loans

Profile 22. Justin Lovitt 26. Flooring America 31. Dr. Nicole Mandala

Health 16. Menopause and Hormone Therapy 32. Collaborative Care 36. Dr Miller


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w w w . 4 0 6 W o m a n . c o m Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 704 C East 13th St. #138 Whitefish, MT 59937 info@406woman.com Copyright©2024 Skirts Publishing


What can a

Certified Financial Planner ®

do for you?

Inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession have many people worrying about their financial health. They may be watching their stocks, bonds and other investments that seem to mimic a roller coaster, and pondering if they should get out now and salvage what they can or stay in the market in hopes of recovering their assets and possibly increasing their wealth even more when the economy stabilizes. They may be wondering if they are saving enough to be successful in retirement, or whether they can afford to buy that new car. They may even be unsure of whether their business is operating as financially efficiently as possible. Whatever the decision, it shouldn’t be made without the knowledgeable input and guidance from a Certified Financial Planner® and other experts in the field.

“When you use a professional, especially during times like this, you have a partner in making your decisions. When you work with a professional who knows your needs, your goals, your risk tolerance, and who knows you and is there for you to talk things through with, you won't make an emotional decision at the wrong time,” said Jessa Ash, Registered Investment Advisor with Fischer Investment Strategies.

Certified Financial Planners® can offer a multitude of ways to protect and grow your money, but finding one you can trust and who you feel comfortable with is crucial. After all, this person is handling your hard-earned money and creating a path for your present and future financial health. If you aren’t sure on how to go about finding someone, it's nice to look to people in your local area so that you can get together in person and build a relationship. It is also important to take the time to get advice from the right peo-


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ple. Whether that’s a CPA, a financial planner, or other financial expert, devising a sound financial plan is key.

Fischer Investment Strategies (FIS) is a fee-only financial firm helping people all over the United States. Jessa is based in Bigfork with a diverse background. She received bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology in 2011. She then received her Master’s degree in Health Administration in 2019. She worked in hospital administration for 4 years before deciding to pursue a path in finance. Jessa and the FIS team provide comprehensive Certified Financial Planning® and investment advisory services for every one of their clients.

Jessa has always had a strong desire to help people and do what is morally best for their wellbeing. Acting as a fiduciary with FIS has allowed her to align with these qualities, as well as work professionally with a team who share them. Jessa takes pride in working with people so that they can meet their financial goals, prepare for their future, and have confidence that their investments are in good hands. She loves being able to

work with members of her community and see them meet their financial goals.

What services do Financial Advisors provide?

Some financial advisors offer a wide range of services designed to assist individuals and organizations in managing their financial health and achieving their financial goals. Fischer Investment Strategies Investment Advisors provide the following services: Financial Planning, Investment Management, Retirement Planning, Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Risk Management and Insurance Planning, Education Funding, Debt Management, Cash Management, Business Financial Planning, and Philanthropy and Charitable Giving. Specific services a financial advisor offers can vary based on their qualifications, areas of specialization, and the nature of their practice. Furthermore, not all financial advisors are fiduciaries, which means they might not be legally obligated to act in the client’s best interest. Therefore, when selecting a financial advisor, it’s essential to understand their credentials, the scope of their services, and their fiduciary status.

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Fee-Only advisors are true fiduciaries, meaning they are ethically and legally bound to act in their client’s best interest. Fee-based advisors can also use the term “fiduciary” to describe themselves so, due to the conflicts of interest in the fee-based model, it is crucial for clients to understand why there might be differences in the advice given from each type of advisor. When is a financial advisor a fiduciary?

A financial advisor is considered a fiduciary when they are legally and ethically required to act in the best interests of their client. This means putting the client’s needs and financial goals above their own financial interests or those of their firm. It also involves a commitment to providing advice and recommendations that are grounded in professional expertise and thorough analysis. In practical terms, when a financial advisor is acting as a fiduciary, they adhere to principles based on the Duty of Loyalty (The advisor must prioritize the client’s interest over any other considerations, avoiding conflicts of interest and fully disclosing any potential conflicts that might exist) and the Duty of Care (The advisor must employ a high standard of professional competence, seeking to provide accurate and well-informed advice).

What is the difference between a fee-only and a fee-based advisor?

The distinction between “fee-only” and “feebased” financial advisors is critical for clients to understand, as it can influence the advisor’s recommendations and overall approach to financial planning. Here are the primary differences:

Compensation Structure:

Fee-only Financial Advisors:

These advisors are compensated exclusively by the fees their clients pay them.

They do not receive any commissions, kickbacks, or financial incentives from product providers, such as mutual fund companies or insurance providers.

Common fee structures for fee-only advisors include a percentage of assets under management (AUM), hourly rates, or fixed fees for specific services.

Fee-based Financial Advisors:

These advisors receive compensation from both fees paid by their clients and other sources, such as commissions from financial products they sell. Because they can earn commissions, there’s potential for a conflict of interest. It’s essential for clients to be aware of this potential and to ask their advisors about any commissions they may receive.

Fiduciary Duty:

Fee-Only advisors are true fiduciaries, meaning they are ethically and legally bound to act in their client’s best interest. Fee-based advisors can also use the term “fiduciary” to describe themselves so, due to the conflicts of interest in the fee-based model, it is crucial for clients to understand why there might be differences in the advice given from each type of advisor.

Professional Affiliations:

There are professional organizations, such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), that only admit fee-only financial advisors. Membership in such organizations can be an additional indicator of an advisor’s commitment to the fee-only model and its principles.

While both fee-only and fee-based financial advisors can provide valuable services, it’s crucial for clients to understand the compensation model and potential biases that might influence the advice they receive. Clients should always feel empowered to ask their advisors about their compensation structure, potential conflicts of interest, and fiduciary status. FIS does not accept any fees or compensation based on product sales (commissions) or revenue sharing (kickbacks – typically from mutual funds with high expense ratios). Fees are completely transparent and based on a flat rate or a percentage of investments under management.

Who should work with FIS?

FIS realizes that every client has different goals and a unique set of financial circumstances. “Our mission for every client is simple: to provide the highest expected rate of return, with the least amount of risk based on the client’s situation, using a low-cost, globally diversified and tax-efficient portfolio. We offer comprehensive financial planning for individuals focused on wealth management, but also for self-employed or small business owners,” Jessa noted. FIS can even assist business owners in designing optimized retirement plans that can significantly reduce taxes and defer income for future retirement needs. In conclusion Jessa said, “We are committed to providing the best financial solutions for your individual situation!”


Jessa Ash, Registered Investment Advisor Fischer Investment Strategies 406-212-1983 jessa@fisfp.com


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Behind the Scenes Kylene Larson Written by Callie Reagan Photo by ACE Photography

Kylene Larson, Director of Food and Beverage at Whitefish Mountain Resort, fills a fast-paced role meant for a person of many talents, a love of hard work, ability to coordinate many moving pieces and ability to jump in anywhere necessary. Kylene is from Stevens Pass, Washington. As the story goes, Kylene was nearly born at Stevens Pass, and started her career there at the age of 14. She worked her way from part time barista to full time management, getting her first management role at the young age of 22.

Kylene’s passion for the mountain and the industry allowed her to continually return to the winter only resort for more than 15 years. Her passion for adventure fueled her summers as she worked around the world during the months without snow, figuring that a person can get experienced in the business, and seek out new surroundings and adventures at the same time. Always on the go and looking for ways to improve she was given the opportunity to come to Whitefish as a young Food and Beverage Director. Kylene attributes much of her current success, training, and ability to do what she does to two special people: her mother Kim and mentor/leader Sarah Larson (no relation). Both Kim and Sarah pushed and trained her for her next role improving skills, increasing knowledge, and encouraging her to accept available opportunities. These building blocks have allowed Kylene to continually keep up and pivot with her ever-changing industry.


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In her time here, Kylene has overseen three restaurant renovations, menu expansions and has supported and led her team of 60, which successfully served a record number of skiers last year. To help put this into perspective, last winter alone they sold 30,990 baskets of chicken tenders, or 13,560 pounds of chicken accompanied by 27,100 pounds of everyone’s favorite curly fries. With each renovation Kylene and her team have worked tirelessly to increase the efficiency of food service at the resort. The goal is always to get guests back out on the hill enjoying the mountain with a full tummy and fueled for more turns. Each season Kylene leads the food and beverage team through complete restaurant openings. By the time the holiday season starts on the mountain, her team has only been working together for three weeks because as a seasonal restaurant there is staff turnover every year including those coming from other countries in the J-1 visa program. This means onboarding, training, scheduling, ordering, and planning in a very short period all while maintaining their high food safety standards in all outlets. Here is a little more about her:

Can you tell us what a Food and Beverage Director at a Ski Resort entails?

My primary role is to support my staff so that they have the tools and the people that they need to service the folks who eat here every day. I am a very hands-on Director and I take a lot of pride in knowing how to do every job on the hill and being willing to do that job. I fry fries, I clean bathrooms, I scrub floors - I also manage Excel spreadsheets, write allencompassing budgets and help design quick and tasty menus.

Whitefish Mountain Resort is a Winter and Summer resort, how does that change how you manage or how things run?

I think many people don't realize that we essentially open new restaurants with each season. We truly operate different concepts in summer and winter - some menu items might be familiar, but the style of service is very different. We go through the process of onboarding and training 70% of our staff with each season.

What does your average day look like?

My typical day is never the same. That is one of the perks of this job for me; there is less of

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I think many people don't realize that we essentially open new restaurants with each season. We truly operate different concepts in summer and winter - some menu items might be familiar, but the style of service is very different. a routine, and I never get bored. I try to visit at least two outlets a day, while at the same time performing all my executive duties. I am also available and willing to be the fill-in for any day that an outlet is short-staffed. People have likely seen me frying fries, cashiering, or being the barista.

You have a team of about 60 people. What are your biggest challenges?

Honestly, the biggest challenge is figuring out how to support 60 different personalities. I think what makes me successful is my ability and desire to do anything. I think I have a pretty strong work ethic, and I think when people see that they respond positively. I am also genuinely interested in getting to know the people I am surrounded with every day.

What type of events do you host?

Our primary events for the summer season are Weddings, which represent about 20% of my efforts for that part of the year. On occasion, a ski group from out of town will have a little après event at Ed and Mully's. The only large-scale event we hold in the winter is a lunch buffet for the Special Olympics. This is one of the best days of the year for me because the athletes and volunteers are just so grateful and happy to get lunch on their event day.

You didn’t get this job in a traditional way; how did you get here and how can someone else follow in your footsteps?

My family skied on the weekends, that is simply what we did, we drove over an hour away and parked our RV in the parking lot for the weekend and went skiing. So, if I wanted a job, I had to work at the ski resort because that is where we spent the weekends. My mom was working at the resort, and she totally got me my first job as a part time food and beverage employee. Beyond that, I just did my best every day. I was willing and eager to learn and I was excited to be given more responsibilities, more administrative tasks. I kept returning each winter, and with time I grew from part time barista to full time manager. I spent summers doing different things – I was a beverage cart girl at a golf course, barista in New Zealand, and worked on a dive boat in Greece. I started bartending as soon as I was old enough, and rarely turned down a job where I had the opportunity to learn a new skill. Those summer jobs helped me learn about the food and beverage industry outside of the ski industry, and consistently coming back to Stevens Pass allowed me to learn key leadership skills and the business side of the industry that makes it possible for me to work in my current role today.

A person wouldn’t be able to simply follow in my footsteps, but someone could certainly follow a similar path. If a person is excited about an industry, or a career, the first step is just to show up and continue to learn everything you can about that industry. Pay attention to what is being taught to you and always keep asking for more. Apply for roles that are outside of your comfort zone and just keep moving forward.

This season, when you are enjoying a hot cup of Wonton Soup at the Summit House, remember all the work, specialties, training, and attention that are going into providing you and half a million other guests food to keep you going another run all season long. Kylene and her 60-person Food and Beverage team will be there this Winter Season to serve you every hot chocolate, cocktail, chicken tender, and burger you order. Thank you in advance to this team that works so hard to bring us warm meals on our snowiest days.



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Menopause and Hormone


Why All The Confusion? Written by Gwen Jonas, MD

Menopause, and the perimenopausal transition, are the time of and leading up to a woman’s last menstrual period. As women we are considered menopausal when we have not had a period for 12 months (in the absence of other causes). Menopause occurs because of decreased function of our ovaries and therefore, decreased production of estrogen and other hormones. In the most recent issue of 406 Woman, menopausal changes in vaginal health and how to combat them were explored. Today we will focus on whole body symptoms as well as the not so obvious effects of menopause, and hormonal options for treatment. Menopausal symptoms are common with approximately 75% of women experiencing what are called vasomotor symptoms – hot flashes, night sweats (often resulting in difficulty sleeping), heart palpitations and migraines. Approximately 45% of women will experience symptoms of mood change: depression, anger/irritability, and anxiety. In addition to mood changes, difficulty with memory or concentration and sleep difficulties not related to night sweats may be very disconcerting. As discussed in our previous article on menopause, many women struggle with vaginal dryness, discomfort and pain with intercourse. All or some of these menopausal symptoms may last 7 to 10 years.


Equally important are the changes that may occur without symptoms – weakening of bones and increased risks of heart disease. Weakening of bones

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begins 1 to 3 years before menopause and lasts for 5-10 years. The average rate of loss of bone is 2% per year with a total of 10-12% loss. This can lead to loss of height, fractures and significant pain, loss of mobility, or even neurologic effects. The transition through menopause is also associated with increasing risks of coronary heart disease. The loss of estrogen leads to a shift toward worse cholesterol and lipid profiles. In addition, the shift of fat disposition toward the abdomen can lead to greater insulin resistance which increases risks of heart disease. Managing symptoms and results of menopause can be done in a myriad of ways including nonmedication interventions, non-hormonal medications or replacement of diminishing hormones

with hormonal therapy. In this article, we will focus on the latter, as for many women it will be the most effective. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion, and confusing information, about the safety of hormone replacement therapy. The data from the Women’s Health Initiative in 2001 left many women and providers alike with the impression that hormonal therapy had greater risks than benefits. This in turn has resulted in many women going without adequate treatment for significant and life-altering symptoms. But continuing observation of the same women from the 2001 study, as well as other studies in the interim, has revealed that for healthy symptomatic women aged 60 years, or within 10 years of menopause, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy outweigh the risks. This information has been slow to make its way through the medical community and to the patients who would most benefit from therapy.

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Potential benefits of therapy include decreases in hot flashes and night sweats, improved sleep, improvements in memory and the ability to think clearly, decreased vaginal dryness and pain with sex, and decreased bone loss and fracture risks. The primary goal of hormonal therapy is to raise the blood levels of estrogen back to a level where hot flashes and other symptoms improve or resolve. If you still have a uterus, estrogen will stimulate the uterine lining and therefore it is absolutely necessary to take progesterone as well to protect from over-stimulation and possible precancerous or cancerous changes of the uterine lining. When considering hormonal therapy, discussing your options with your gynecologic care provider can be helpful in balancing the severity of your symptoms, your personal health history and your own beliefs about hormone therapy. In the last two decades, the predominant discussion about hormones has centered around the risks. Learning the details of benefits and true information about risks will be useful in making decisions about therapy. Potential benefits of therapy include decreases in hot flashes and night sweats, improved sleep, improvements in memory and the ability to think clearly, decreased vaginal dryness and pain with sex, and decreased bone loss and fracture risks. Women often experience an overall improvement in feelings of wellbeing. Hormone therapy decreases diagnosis of new onset type 2 diabetes and may help with blood sugar control in women while it is being used for other symptom management. While the FDA has not approved estrogen therapy to treat depression, research has found that it may be nearly as effective as antidepressant medications in treating depression in perimenopausal (but not postmenopausal) women. In some studies, it appears to prevent depression in perimenopausal women who do not have depression at time of initiation. Importantly, for those women initiating therapy within 10 years of menopause and at ages less than 60, newer data demonstrates decreased risks of heart disease and death from heart disease. In women initiating hormone therapy beyond the age of 60 that cardiac benefit is not seen and risks likely outweigh benefits. All medications have some potential risks. As with the risks of heart disease, overall newer information indicates that when hormonal therapy is started in healthy younger women the benefits generally outweigh the following risks. There is a slightly increased risk of blood clots in legs or lungs as well as increased risks of stroke with all estrogen containing preparations except vaginal therapy. If started after the age of 65, estrogen may increase risks of dementia. If a woman requires both estrogen and progesterone (due to presence of the uterus) there is a slightly increased risk of

breast cancer after 4-5 years of use, but this same degree of risk is not seen with estrogen alone. Side-effects that may be associated with hormone therapy include nausea, breast tenderness or irregular bleeding. Adjustments in dose may help alleviate these effects. Hormonal therapy is not associated with weight gain.

If a woman decides to proceed with hormonal therapy, there are multiple options: pills, gels, patches, sprays or even a vaginal ring. In general, methods in which the estrogen component is delivered through skin as opposed to orally are believed to have a lower risk of blood clots and potentially less effects on cholesterol. Progesterone is generally given orally and is not associated with blood clots or changes in cholesterol. The lowest dose that relieves symptoms should be used. A women’s healthcare provider can help women work through the options to find the right delivery method and dose. One area of significant confusion these days results from the term “bioidentical” hormone therapy. Bioidentical refers to hormones that are manufactured to be chemically identical to the hormones women’s bodies make during the reproductive years. There is no scientific data to demonstrate these are safer but some women and providers may prefer these products.

“Bioidentical” should not be confused with “compounded” hormones. Bioidentical hormones are produced by large pharmaceutical companies as well as small compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies can produce products with varying doses and ratios. It is important to realize that while compounded hormone therapy allows individualized dosing, these doses and formulations may not have been rigorously studied to ensure that the doses have appropriate effect and safety. For instance, the required dose of progesterone to estrogen in a woman with a uterus may or may not be present to ensure the risk of uterine cancer is avoided. Absorption of, and blood levels with, different formulation may not have been wellstudied. The North American Menopause Society recommends the use of FDA-approved hormonal therapy for this reason. If a woman feels strongly that she would like to use bioidentical hormones, she should discuss this with her provider and realize there is a long list of bioidentical FDA-approved options. If these do not work for her, then compounding may be an appropriate next step.

If a woman is on hormone therapy, deciding when to stop therapy is important. There is no correct time to stop. Newer recommendations from professional organizations state that therapy may be continued beyond 65 years of age. If symptoms persist beyond this time, a woman and her healthcare provider should discuss continuing or discontinuing medications and arrive at this decision together considering her individual risks and history.

Some women, on both estrogen and progesterone, stop after 4-5 years due to concerns about breast cancer. When a woman stops hormone therapy, her symptoms may return. Slowly weaning therapy may reduce the risks of returning symptoms. If symptoms return, reassessing the risks, benefits, and alternatives of continuing therapy for each individual woman is appropriate. In conclusion, in light of newer data about the benefits versus risks of hormone replacement therapy, each woman should know that it may be an option if she wishes to consider it. If her provider does not feel comfortable providing this counseling, she should make an appointment with a gynecologist who specializes in the care of women to discuss menopausal therapy in more depth. Gwenda C. Jonas, MD, FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN who has practiced with Kalispell OB/GYN since 2001. Prior to moving to Flathead Valley, she was in private practice for four years in Phoenix, AZ, and was an Associate Clinical Professor for the University of Arizona School of Medicine. Dr. Jonas received her undergraduate degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and her medical degree from the University of Alabama. She completed her residency at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. She is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Board-certified yearly through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. She has served as Chief of Staff of Kalispell Regional Medical Center, as a Kalispell Regional healthcare board member, and as board chair. She has served on numerous committees at Logan Health, including Medical Ethics, Mass Casualty and most recently as Logan Health Section Chair of Gynecology. Dr. Jonas and her husband, Dr. Ken Jonas, are delighted to call Kalispell their home. They enjoy rafting, fishing, skiing, and kayaking.


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Power of Renovation Home Loans As we kick off a new year, one constant topic of conversation is sharing with others the changes you have planned. A fresh, newly renovated home can bring a renewed sense of energy, joy, and peace to your life. It’s not just a physical makeover, it’s an emotional and mental uplift that aligns your surroundings with your inner aspirations.

Reinvigorate your living space, reinvigorate your life.

We all have a dream or transformation that we would like to make to our current home that would positively impact our daily lives. As you look for inspiration you might say to yourself or significant other, “You know what would be nice? If we converted a por-


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By Justin Lovitt of Mann Mortgage

tion of the family room into a private office?” Or during those sunny, summer days you think to yourself, “A sports court in the backyard for pickleball would be a blast to entertain and keep the kids busy.” Finally, who wouldn’t love a makeover to the master bathroom? It can be so fun to brainstorm these visions, creativity and dreams when residing in your home throughout the year, or shopping for your new home. The biggest hurdle in turning these aspirations into reality is finding an affordable solution without depleting all of your assets. Mann Mortgage can show you how to utilize a renovation loan to do just that. After all, a renovation loan isn’t just about painting walls, installing new flooring, or updating your existing fixtures. It’s about using the equity in your home to reinvent your living space to better match your family’s evolving lifestyle, while increasing your property value and overall net worth.

Renovation loans aren’t just for current homeowners. They also exist for future homeowners.

We all agree that every home (or almost every home) has a different style. We can also agree that a layout or design that works for one resident isn’t always perfect for another.

Let’s say you are shopping for a new home and look at a property for sale. As you walk through the home, you may think to yourself, “This house would be perfect if it had a bigger kitchen” or “this view is perfect, I just wish the yard had a better outdoor entertainment area to share with family and friends.” As you drive away, you think, “I wish there was a way to incorporate the changes I’d love to make into the home purchase.” A renovation loan allows you to do just that! You secure the property and utilize funds to increase value and marketability, while accommodating your vision for the home.

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Renovations don’t have to be specific to a single change. From the interior, exterior, all the way to the landscaping, if you can dream it – you can do it! Now, what if you don’t have the grandiose idea for transformation, but find a home in the perfect location that isn’t up to par for everyday living? Let’s say the home needs new exterior paint, fixtures are outdated, guest bathroom needs upgraded and new flooring throughout. A renovation loan can be utilized to purchase that fixer-upper and start the fixing right away!

How do renovation loans work?

1. Dream up ideas of the changes you’d love to make to your existing or potential home and the impact those changes would make.

2. Speak with a Mann Mortgage Loan Advisor to see how a renovation loan would affect your monthly payment.

3. Locate a trustworthy contractor that shares the same vision. 4. Submit the plans for the renovation to determine the impact on marketability and valuation of your property.

5. If the increased valuation matches the loan

parameters, proceed to close on the loan and begin enjoying the home and lifestyle you deserve!

Jetted tub and steam shower, larger family room, or somewhere to send the in-laws?

Renovations don’t have to be specific to a single change. From the interior, exterior, all the way to the landscaping, if you can dream it – you can do it! Since most changes help increase value and marketability, the opportunities for renovation are endless.

Some examples of renovation projects:

Outdoor entertainment

One of my personal favorites is dreaming up ideas for outdoor entertainment. Having a large enough covered deck, an outdoor cooking area, or a fire pit to enjoy while you stare at the stars. Renovation loans allow the opportunity to dream big when it comes to outdoor entertainment areas and landscaping.

Privacy for visitors

In Montana, one thing is consistent; friends and family love to visit! A renovation loan can be used to create in-law space above the garage or with a lean-to. Or you may want a detached guest quarter. While we all love company, giving everyone a bit of extra space can be a game-changer!


Whether you need more cabinets for storage, a larger counter space for cooking multiple dishes at one time, or brand-new appliances, we’ve all dreamed about exactly what it would take to make our kitchen perfect.

Dream, plan and renovate.

Renovation loans can help personalize your existing or future home. Your home is not

only one of your biggest assets and helps create net worth, but also where you spend most of your time. Increase your health, happiness and overall net worth by taking time to make your home exactly the way you want. If you would like to learn more about a renovation loan, call your local Mann Mortgage Loan Officer today!



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Q&A with Justin Lovitt Mann Mortgage

What is one thing on your bucket list you have to do?

Visit all 50 states in some sort of fashion. Before I travel internationally, I have always wanted to explore the USA!!!

What is your favorite way to spend a day off?

Must involve H2O. Either frozen up at the Whitefish Mountain Resort, or wake surfing on Hungry Horse reservoir under the view of Great Northern.

What are your hobbies and how did you get into them?

Coaching the youth. At my stage of parenting, my boys are very involved in sports. Of course, volunteering to coach sparked my interest and I love it. The opportunity to teach these kids the sport and help them with lessons they can later use in life is tremendously rewarding.

What is the last thing you read?

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. A classic, and the reason for the recent read, is that my 7th grader was also reading it.

What is the one thing that can instantly make your day better?

Caffeine! In the form of coffee, or Red Bull. I try to keep the levels low, but I’m not going to lie, it does instantly make the day better.

What song instantly gets you on the dance floor?

My wife prefers that I don’t dance publicly but “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley and the Wailers does always elevate the vibes, wherever I am at though.

What is your prized possession and why?

Going back to the perfect day question, it would have to be either my Hyperlite wake surfboard or Jones snowboard. When those two items are with me, you know that it’s always going to be a fun time!

What is an essential part of your daily routine?

Cliché, but truthful. Walking through the front door at the end of the day, to my wife, two boys and dogs’ “Hank” and “Beast.”

What would your perfect meal look like?


Sushi! Either at one of the great places around the valley or spending the time to make it at home.

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Trends in Flooring 2024 Most of us don’t realize the influence a lovely ambience can have upon our mind, heart, soul and body. Can flooring make a difference to the ambiance in a room? “You bet it can,” according to Ed Smith, owner of Flooring America in Kalispell and Bozeman. It is just as important as the lighting, hues, scent, textures, and warmth of a room. Adding a custom rug is a great way to add ambiance to a room. Create a beautiful ambience and you make your space a metaphor for warmth, joy, inspiration.

By his own admission, Ed is a bit of a flooring nerd - it is just who he is! He has been in the flooring business for 45 years, starting as an installer and eventually buying the Flooring America store. He didn’t choose flooring


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By Mary Wallace

as a career, flooring chose him! No, he is not interested in retiring. Yes, his free time is joyfully spent working or thinking about flooring. Yes - his social life is spent networking with other flooring professionals, going to open houses or flooring conventions. His hobbies revolve around flooring. He just wants to provide his customers with the best possible and most affordable flooring experience. Patti has long since given up on trying to get him to focus on anything else. She works at the store when needed and enjoys other pursuits in her free time. I met with Ed & Patti in their flooring design room at the store, which is a simple workroom with a table and chairs surrounded by an artful selection of flooring products on swinging sample display racks. For a functional work room, it actually has a lot of that ambiance we talked about earlier.

How does one go about choosing the right flooring for their home? Flooring America staff are extensively trained to help customers navigate their flooring adventure. When a customer comes in, staff at Flooring America will get a feel for the customer’s flooring project, their lifestyle, and their budget. One of the first things Ed or any of the staff at Flooring America will ask any customers is what room they are flooring, and how will they use it. (Is their project for their Common areas? Home gym? Basement? Bedroom? Office?) They also ask some lifestyle questions (Kids? Pets? Hobbies?) Then they set to work and make recommendations from the diverse selection of flooring products that will fit each client’s project. Some customers are unsure what they want when they come in, so this process lends itself to a practical, sustainable, and suitable

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flooring solution. The Flooring America team of professionals will assess needs, measure, make recommendations, prepare a quote, order the correct square footage, and provide expert installation of the flooring. They are the whole deal, organizing the project from start to finish. Why would anyone go through the pain & agony of trying to do their project themselves, when they have all this at their fingertips for about the same cost?

Ready for the WOW factor? Check out the FLOOR VISUALIZER!

This state-of-the-art tool is exclusive to Flooring America and it can be used both online and in the store! The best way to try the Floor Visualizer or view your dream flooring options is to visit the Kalispell or Bozeman Flooring America store armed with a photo of your project room and you will be able to view how different styles, products, colors, and surfaces will look right in your own room. In-store customers can find a sample they like and scan a QR code on the back of one of the samples in the customer design room to view how their own room would look & feel with that product. Such a unique and improved shopping/design experience! The Visualizer tool is also available online at www.flooringamerica.com or www.flooringamericaofbozeman.com.

Current trends in flooring design:

As we approach 2024, some key words in interior and flooring design include innovation, style, and functional elegance. 2024 stands out as a year poised to introduce trends embodying modernity, sustainability, and a fusion of diverse influences.

Bolder colors and textures are poised to

infuse real energy and visual interest into living spaces in the coming year. Deep jeweltoned hues alongside a mix of plush textiles, rough hewn stone, natural woods, and metallic finishes will be stealing the show.

Alongside these bold new trends is a shift toward more eco-friendly, natural materials. Watch for natural and renewable

resources, such as bamboo, reclaimed and recycled wood & glass, and even recycled plastics and organic fabrics.

Multifunctional spaces can meet the

needs of today’s flexible lifestyles and needs. Rooms are no longer confined to a single purpose and it is surprising how flooring can seamlessly help a room adapt to maximize functionality without sacrificing style.

Whether seeking today’s reclaimed wood materials, large scale tiles, or patterned flooring, Flooring America offers their design inspiration hub to let your creative expression in home design roam free. www.flooringamerica.com/blog.

How can local Flooring America stores compete with the box stores for affordability?

Flooring America is a member of a powerful buying cooperative, CCA Global Partners.

Why would a customer care about that? This gives them incredible buying power that makes it possible to offer high-quality floors at surprisingly affordable prices. They are able to benefit their customers with resources they wouldn’t have on their own. They have access to an extensive selection of the finest flooring available, including hardwood, carpet, luxury vinyl, tile, laminate and more. Ed & Patti have a list of local trusted and preferred installers and they are blessed with their great team of store professionals. They are proud of the fact that customers come back and bring other family and friends.

Flooring America of Kalispell is proud to serve homeowners, remodelers, residential, home designers, home builders, and light commercial projects. There are more than 550 locally owned stores in the U.S. These family stores offer the same products and pricing as the big box stores, but they come with so much more support, guidance, and expertise.

To get the full shopping experience, the Smiths invite you to visit Poiema Flooring America at 206 W. Center Street Kalispell or at Flooring America of Bozeman at 215 Haggerty Ln, Bozeman. Flooring America – Where Friends Send Friends.



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profile} Provider Profile

Q&A with

Dr. Nicole Mandala Logan Health OB/GYN

What brought you to the Flathead Valley?

My husband has loved western Montana since his first fishing trip in southwest Montana along the Bitterroot River over 15 years ago, and has wanted to live somewhere in western Montana since. We first vacationed here at Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park by renting a cabin in Dayton in the summer of 2016. My husband proposed to me on Wildhorse Island (He completely surprised me and I didn't see it coming!). Since then, the area is sentimental to us and we were hoping to move here someday. When a good job opportunity presented itself in early 2022, we jumped on the chance to move here.

What's your specialty of practice? I am an OB/GYN provider.

Photo by ACE Photography & Design

Tell us about your medical education and experience.

I went to medical school and did my residency training in OB/GYN at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. I was born and raised in CO, so after all of my education and training in CO, I was looking for a fresh start somewhere outside of CO and found a great job and home in Billings. Since then, I met my husband and Montana has become my home. I practiced as an OB/GYN in Billings at Billings Clinic for seven years (20152022), then moved to Kalispell in summer 2022 and currently practice at Logan Health OB/GYN.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

It is such a privilege to form long-term relationships with patients and be a small part of one their greatest joys - pregnancy and childbirth. I also really enjoy surgery and the challenges of the OR. I love my job and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

What are some of your professional interests?

I enjoy both low-risk and high-risk obstetrics (including multiples), and minimally invasive gynecologic surgery (both laparoscopic and vaginal approaches). I'm also interested in treating chronic pelvic pain and patients with endometriosis. As medicine is both a science and an art, I continue to love learning more and more as time goes on and adapting to the ever-changing world of medicine.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love spending time with my family, my husband Kevin and our two young kids. We love the outdoors including hiking, paddleboarding, fly fishing, snowshoeing, and camping. I very much enjoy reading books like mystery novels, critically acclaimed novels (in book club), and finance books. I also love to cook. I'm not very good at it, but I'm learning.

Brought to you by



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health} Logan Health

Collaborative Care Helping Women Through Every Stage of Life By Amanada Sheppard, Marketing & Communication Coordinator at Logan Health

As women, we know that our care needs change dramatically depending on our season of life. What starts as an annual check-up can quickly become complex as we navigate health milestones related to menstruation, planning for a family, pregnancy, labor, motherhood, menopause, and more, not to mention the complications and curve balls that get thrown our way during these changes. When it comes to caring for women for their whole life, it takes a team effort. Fortunately, at Logan Health, we have just that: a network of dedicated providers, specialists, subspecialists, and staff who all work together to ensure the best care for any woman, anytime. For Dr. Thomas deHoop and Dr. Shawn Barrong, collaboration in all areas is an essential part of delivering excellent women’s care. Dr. deHoop is a general OB/GYN, managing routine obstetric and gynecologic issues, and his clinic team includes medical assistants, fellow providers, and staff. However, the teamwork does not end there. Within the larger Logan Health women’s care services, deHoop also works closely with the midwives clinic as well as Logan Health’s perinatologists (specialists in high-risk pregnancies).

This accessibility to expert subspecialists allows him to help every woman receive the exact care she needs without delay. “It makes it much more efficient to care for patients,” deHoop says, “Rather than referring them somewhere else, we can schedule them with one of our subspecialists right away. We easily communicate between our OB/GYN, midwives, and maternal-fetal medicine clinics, which makes care faster and more accurate. For instance, if a patient has an abnormal finding during a routine OB ultrasound or


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has a complicating medical issue, we call downstairs to our perinatologist. Once we explain our concern, they can often see the patient the same day or the next, with no long referral period or delays.” By partnering with subspecialists like a perinatologist, an OB/ GYN provider can ensure that every patient receives care that is perfectly fitted to their needs and also comprehensive. This integrative care is not just for maternal needs, but also for women who experience issues or irregularities like fibroids, incontinence, abnormal bleeding, menstrual dysfunction, and pelvic pain. These issues range in severity and treatment, and many women find themselves needing surgical intervention. This is when Barrong steps in. “At Logan Health Women’s Care, we offer advanced gynecologic surgery, often minimally invasive robotic surgery.” he says, “Our advanced surgical care can help women with endometriosis and associated pelvic pain, and we also offer pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence

treatments, both surgical and non-surgical.” Dr. Barrong also enjoys working with his colleague Dr. Robert Rogers, the first board-certified urogynecologist in the state of Montana. Together, Barrong and Rogers have over 60 years of experience in treating gynecologic conditions, helping women reduce their pain and live their healthiest lives.

When it comes to the complex world of surgery, teamwork among the clinics themselves is also essential. “There has been excellent collaboration among the surgical specialists within Logan Health. Dr. Rogers and I work with general surgery, surgical oncology, and urology using a team approach to help facilitate the care of patients. This allows them to have their surgery performed here in the Flathead Valley.” Over the years, Logan Health has expanded their robotic surgery program, which has been extremely helpful to providers like Barrong and Rogers as they continue to make these life-changing procedures more accessible to Montana women.

health} Logan Health

When it comes to the complex world of surgery, teamwork among the clinics themselves is essential. All of this collaboration and integrative care ultimately serves one purpose: to help Montana women and their families thrive. As an OB/GYN provider, deHoop’s favorite part of the job is seeing families expand or become more established, helping them at every opportunity, and staying connected with families years later. “There are still families I helped in Ohio who send me pictures. I have a picture of me with a baby I delivered for a couple in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati and a similar picture of me and her 10 years later when they came back from Japan for a visit.” Likewise, Barrong has seen his surgical work transform the lives of his patients, such as Kristi, a celebrated fitness and figure competitor with a zest for life. In 2022, Kristi’s life was painfully interrupted when she was diagnosed with a stage 1 granulosa cell tumor in her right ovary. Whereas a traditional surgery would require a six-day post-operative recovery in the hospital, after receiving a minimallyinvasive robotic surgery, Kristi was walking the streets of Bozeman with her mother and her daughter only two days later. To her, the surgical treatment was invaluable, and many other women have also felt the same empowerment and confidence after receiving expert women’s care.

Among our providers are countless stories just like these, and these stories are truly the heartbeat of their profession. Whether they are conducting life-changing minimally-invasive surgeries, walking with mothers through pregnancy, delivering countless babies to their loving parents, or helping women with gynecologic issues live pain-free, our team members are here for you when you need them most. Dr. deHoop speaks to this firsthand, “The best part about working with the Logan Health team is that every member wants to make an impact, both in our patient’s lives and in the community we love.”

Dr. Thomas deHoop Dr. Shawn Barrong



oman.com 35


Dental Jargon The More You Know By Dr. John F. Miller DDS - SMILE MONTANA

I recently went on a snowboarding trip up to Revelstoke, British Columbia with a couple of friends from the Flathead. This is a seven hour trip each way assuming the weather is good, which is a coin flip in the winter considering the last hour is Roger’s Pass in the Canadian Glacier National Park. There is no commercial flying option that would put us there any faster considering the closest airport is 2 hours from Revelstoke and it would require two flights and a rental car or shuttle to get there. Either way, one of my travel companions is very good at time management and uses these seven hours to get a lot of work done. Work that is conducted out loud over the vehicle's audio system for all to hear. Not only was he our driver, but quite often during these calls he had a phone in each hand. It was more impressive than terrifying...barely. Said individual is in the world of finance so it’s a lot of jargon and acronyms. Honestly it’s very interesting to me even though it sounds like a different language. I pay close attention then ask him a bunch of questions when the call is over. And just like anyone passionate about their career he was happy to answer my questions.

door and see that box you can physically see 5 of its 6 sides if you move around it. The top and the 4 sides. This is how we describe a tooth. These surfaces, like a lot of human anatomy, have names derived from their Latin root words. Let’s go through them.

As dentists, we were instructed in our dental training to limit the amount of dental jargon we use with our patients. Jargon just means terminology specific to your industry that the lay person might not understand. On occasion I will have the more inquisitive patient listen to me discuss treatment with my hygienist or assistant, then ask follow up questions. Like, “what does ‘distal-buccal class five’ mean.” Let’s answer this question for you, the reader.

Now that we know what distal means we can deduce that mesial means towards the center of the body, or midline. In that healthy mouth full of teeth, the mesial surface is in contact with the distal surface of the tooth in front of it. It is the other surface that gets cleaned when we floss.


Every tooth has 5 surfaces. We just made it through the holidays right? So, I imagine a lot of amazon boxes being delivered to front porches. When you open your 38 406


• Distal

The term distal is defined as being away from the center of the body. When we refer to the mouth we tend to use the term “midline.” In a healthy mouth full of teeth, the distal surface of a tooth is in contact with the tooth behind it. It is a surface that gets cleaned when we floss.

• Mesial

• Lingual

This is the Latin term for the tongue. So, this describes the teeth surfaces that face the tongue. Right now, rub your tongue against the insides of your teeth. You are touching the lingual surfaces. These surfaces tend to experience the least amount of dental decay

due to exposure to greater amounts of saliva which neutralizes acids.

• Buccal/Facial

So now we are going to differentiate between the teeth in the back of our mouths and the teeth in the front. Also referred to as posterior and anterior teeth respectively. Posterior teeth are called molars and premolars. These teeth have a buccal surface. Buccal is Latin for cheek so obviously this is the surface touching the cheek. Anterior teeth, our canines and incisors, do not touch our cheeks and their forwardfacing surfaces are called facial surfaces. They are touching our lips but for some reason we do not refer to them as labial surfaces...I wasn’t around when that decision was being made so I can’t tell you why.

• Occlusal/Incisal

On to our last surface. This is the functional surface of our teeth. The surface that does all the work when it comes to chewing. This is the top of the box in my box analogy. The surface opposite the surface touching the porch. In the posterior this surface is called the occlusal surface and in the anterior we simply refer to this surface as the incisal surface. Occlusal surfaces grind food while incisal surfaces cut food. Incise is the Latin term meaning “to cut.”

health}smile Can we answer my patient’s question at this point in my education? What was the question again? It was, “what does distal-buccal class five mean doc.” So, we know what distal and buccal mean. So this person has a decaying dental lesion that is large enough to extend into both the buccal and distal surfaces, but what does class five mean?

Buccal Class Five Lesions

To be honest, there are five classes of dental lesions and restorations (cavities and fillings for you, the lay person). But we don’t really use them in day-to-day practice other than class five. So without further ado, class five means the decay/ defect is found at, near, or below the level of the gums. So when I’m doing an exam and telling my hygienist, who is at the computer inputting my treatment plan, that the patient has DO on #13 She/He knows I mean a distal-occlusal on the upper left second premolar. This is a class two restoration but telling her that would be redundant because a DO on #13 can’t be any other class of filling. So why do I, the dentist, need to specify if a lesion is class five or not? Simply because a buccal/facial or lingual defect can be at or near the gumline, or closer to the occlusal/incisal aspect. Not at or near the gums. Being a class five doesn’t change the cost, but it will help my dental assistant set up my operatory slightly differently as there are few tools that are needed for class five’s that aren’t needed otherwise. We keep detailed records of all of our patients' fillings so we can know when they were placed, if they were done by myself or another dentist, and lastly, not to get dark, but I often joke with the patient who asks me about these Latin terms and what they mean by informing them with a straight face that if we keep good records we will be able to identify their body if they’re otherwise non-recognizable. This has never happened by the way and I hope it never does so be careful out there y’all...head on a swivel alright. Alright so let me wrap up this tooth surface talk. Healthy teeth don’t hurt. Enamel doesn’t have nerves. The tissue under the enamel does communicate with our nervous system. So if a tooth is starting to be sensitive to cold the enamel is getting thin somewhere. If you notice a tooth being sensitive to sweets it's likely that you have a cavity that has gotten all the way through your enamel. The point I want to drive home is as soon as you notice this, get a dental checkup. What you want is to catch these problems early enough that fixing them includes the least number of tooth surfaces as possible. This benefits you, the patient, in a lot of ways. One and two, it’s gonna be a cheaper and quicker dental visit. More surfaces = more dentist and assistant time required to repair = more $$. We can all agree we want the dental drill to be in our mouths the shortest amount of time possible, and we want the most amount of dollars to remain in our wallets and bank accounts as possible. Duh. Three, you’re going to experience the least amount of discomfort and avoid a potentially painful and expensive situation if the decay gets into the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. A small one to three surface filling we discuss in terms of hundreds of dollars while a root canal and crown we start talking in the thousands of dollars. Nobody needs that in their life...keep those cavities small or better yet nonexistent. And with all that money you’re going to save, take a ski trip with your friends to Revelstoke. It’s only seven hours away. Happy New Year by the way!! Pray for Snow!!



oman.com 39

406 w o m a n

Featured 16. Amber Siderius

Food &flavor

20. In the Kitchen with Lane 27. Ask the Butcher 32. Liquid Assets



28. Buffalo Hill Golf Club Restaurant

C over G ir ls. .

Local Author 36. Debbie Burke

Home & design

34. Winter Culinary Herb Gardening 44. Sweet Dreams


40. Off Key Notes

Love Story w

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46. Mikayla & Lukas

50. Lauren & Trevor

Amber Siderius

Local photographer Amber Siderius was captured on the other side of the lens. Get to know more about this successful businesswoman and read our feature story on page 16. photo by

Amanda Wilson Photography amandawilsonphotos.com

Kylene Larson

As the Director of Food & Beverage at Whitefish Mountain Resort, Kylene Larson keeps busy during the summer and winter seasons planning, managing, and oftentimes working side by side with her staff. Read our business feature story on page 10 of the flip side to learn more.

Publisher's Note

As 2023 draws to a close and the promise of a new beginning unfolds, we extend our warmest greetings and heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support and readership. As we step into the new year, we are filled with anticipation and excitement for the stories that lie ahead. We are committed to bringing you the voices of exceptional women who are making a difference in our communities, breaking barriers, and redefining what it means to be a woman today. In the pages of 406 Woman, you'll find tales of courage, innovation, and compassion. You'll meet trailblazers in business, in the medical field, and the arts. You'll connect with women who are redefining motherhood, reimagining careers, and reclaiming their power. We believe that every woman has a story worth telling, and we are honored to be a platform for sharing those stories with you. Through your continued readership, you are fueling our passion to inspire, empower, and connect women across our community. As we embark on this new chapter, we encourage you to embrace the spirit of 406 Woman – a spirit of resilience, ambition, and unwavering support for one another. Together, let's continue to inspire, uplift, and celebrate the extraordinary women who make our lives brighter and our community a better place.

Wishing you a year filled with success, happiness, and endless possibilities.



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Editor’s Letter publisher

Cindy Gerrity


business manager Daley McDaniel


Grandma & Beck at Les Contamines Ski Resort

managing editor

Kristen Hamilton


creative & social media director Amanda Wilson

Grandma & Charlie at a coffee shop in Sallanches

Aunt Kathy & Kristen in Chamonix


“Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses... swapped back and forth and over again.”


– Michelle Obama


I feel incredibly blessed to have spent the Christmas holiday with my daughter and her growing family in the French Alps. I arrived as Charlie, my new grandson (mon nouveau petit fils) was coming home from the hospital with Sarah, my daughter.


Sara Joy Pinnell

Daley McDaniel Photography Amanda Wilson Photography ACE Photography

Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 704 C East 13th St. #138 Whitefish, MT 59937 info@406woman.com Copyright©2024 Skirts Publishing

Want to know about great events, open houses, and more? Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/406 Woman 406 Woman is distributed in Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Missoula, Whitefish and every point in between.

It was a wonderful visit and it was made even more special as one of my dearest friends (whom my kids have always called Aunt), Kathy, joined us for a week. As time goes on, I am continually reminded of how important friendships are in my life. I’ve been blessed to know so many wonderful women that have really made (and continue to) an impact on my life. I hope in a small way that I have done the same for them. Another dear friend, Holly, recently shared that in 2024 she is determined to value and nurture friendships more. I couldn’t agree more and plan to do the same! Together we can make each other stronger, lift each other up, and support each other in the good and not so good times. Join me in celebrating friendship in 2024!

Happy New Year,

Check out www.406woman.com for our full distribution list. Have a great story idea or know someone that we should feature? Email us with your comments & suggestions. Interested in increasing your business and partnering with 406 Woman? Check out www.406woman.com.

406 w o m a n

View current and past issues of 406 Woman at


w w w . 4 0 6 W o m a n . c o m 54 406


A special thanks to Lindsay and the crew at the Bar W Guest Ranch for hosting our photo shoot with cover model Amber Siderius. My name is Lindsay Engibous and I'm the Equine Director at the Bar W Guest Ranch. I started working for the Bar W in the spring of 2009 as a wrangler, fell in love with Montana and made Kalispell, and the ranch, my new home. My main responsibility as the Equine Director is overseeing the care and management of the ranch's herd of horses as well as the other livestock and animals that call the ranch home. We've got goats, chickens, and even a pig! In the summer months we'll have a small bunch of cattle at the ranch as well. I grew up on a dairy farm in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and I've been working with and caring for horses and other critters pretty much my entire life. My main background is Western riding, but I've tried my hand at English riding a time or two, though one of my favorite sports to compete in is Skijoring!


Honing Her Craft For 20 Years Meet Photographer

Amber Siderius Written by Rachael Seymour Photos by Amber Siderius

For almost a decade now, Montana has been quite the hot spot for growing businesses. Particularly in the past few years the photography community has taken off with subjects such as landscapes, wedding and portraiture. And it continues to grow, without an end in sight. For those who are interested in getting into the professional business, Amber Siderius has a few tips and friendly words of advice. “Always back up your work,” she laughs. “Then have a backup for that backup.” Living square in the middle of the Flathead Valley, Siderius has been running her photography business for almost 20 years now. Known for the crisp headshots with her subjects boldly staring into the camera, and her sweet family portraits full of giggling kids, she is an established name.

Siderius is a first-generation Montanan, born into the state after her parents heard the call to set down roots here. Growing up, she loved to read National Geographic and look at the photos, wanting to capture the same beauty. Though she detoured for a moment, after she graduated from the University of Montana in 2007, she fell in love with photography all over again. Unfortunately by the time she started to get a new business off the ground, the recession hit and she needed to rely on more conventional means for work. So she continued to work odd jobs, while honing her craft. She photographed bronze sculptures for websites, ads and print as well as headshots for business profiles. Slowly she began to work her way up to weddings, something she still enjoys today. She photographed weddings for 10 years before having her own family, then began to expand


58 406


her business by photographing families and portraits, and work for a modern editorial studio. This is one of Siderius’ favorite sessions to shoot with the nice clothes, the hair and full makeup sessions. It’s all very exciting. Her other favorite is working with families. “I love photographing kids. They’re easy and fun and you just go with it. There’s always a surprise with them. I love when I get those beautiful little shots! That’s why I love shooting families, I always look at it and you can definitely feel the love in that photo.”

For an average day, she wakes up in the early morning to try and get some editing done. After a few hours, she shifts her focus onto

her two kids as they begin to wake. When they’re ready for the day, she goes back, reads emails and continues to edit her work. By the early afternoon, she goes to her studio and shoots a session. Planning is another key tool in Siderius’ kit, and at this time of the year, early afternoon has the best light. “There’s only a four hour time that I shoot during the day, because I tend to shoot with natural light…If someone wants a little more brightness, I’ll plan for a certain time and I’ll book out a few days in advance and see if there’s going to be sun to get cool shadows or light, depending on what they want.” She and I are sitting in a small and empty cafe. She’s stunning in a luxurious gray coat and her

featured} Amber Siderius

younger 2-year-old daughter, dressed in all pink, is looking through photos in her mom’s phone in the chair next to her. It’s a dreary gray out with minimal lighting and I wonder if it’s going to be an issue with whatever she had planned later.

In the past four years or so, Montana has experienced quite the population boom, bringing loads of opportunity for many fields, including photography. When asked if this was a competitive issue for her, she just laughs. “There’s quite a few more, essentially associations out there for budding entrepreneurs in the way of supporting each other. Whether that’s different business or photography, it’s definitely a shift I’ve noticed. And a good one. There’s always room for more!” Siderius is grateful for everyone that she’s worked with and is excited to continue to push and expand her artistic vision with her Canon.

sions and prefers to leave the unpredictability of outdoor sessions out of the equation. “I'm always trying to do better and when I can actually achieve that it just makes it very rewarding.” The studio might even have a red room for developing.

While we’re talking, her daughter has changed from looking at photos to a pig game and she begins to huff in a way that gets us both laughing. Turns out it’s her way of oinking, because she can’t quite nail the real sound yet. It’s utterly adorable.

In her busy life, Siderius always makes sure that time with her family is a priority. She’s incredibly grateful for all their love and support, especially her husband. Oftentimes she can be found traversing her family’s farm around the Flathead River with them. “We’re always looking for feathers, or horns. We’re always exploring.” She also enjoys being on the river, cooking and gardening, with plans of expanding more of their space with the desire to eat completely organic food. She also has a special She’s also excited for the new studio that she talent for ice fishing. “I’ve got the gift!” She and her husband, Cory, are creating at her admits when I ask about her success rate. “I house, and what that means for future shoot- don’t know what it is, but I’ve been blessed!” ing sessions. From having drinks and a bath- Though this year is looking to be a less oproom available to temperature-controlled timistic season, as Christmas is around the rooms, Siderius loves to have everything there corner and The Flathead is still a balmy green for her clients. She wants to make sure every- and brown instead of the Winter Wonderland one is as comfortable as possible for their ses- we’re all used to.

Photo by Amanda Wilson Photography

There’s quite a few more, essentially associations out there for budding entrepreneurs in the way of supporting each other.

In this day and age, every waking instant is simultaneously captured on reel and social media, then gone in an instant. How often do we have time to take moments to purposely sit and make memories that we can look back on with fondness? That’s what Amber Siderius does best. And as she continues her work, the best advice she gives to others is something she’d give to herself when she first started out: “Don’t give up. Even when you have the most terrible job, always learn from your craft and don’t give up!”



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In the Kitchen with Lane

Lane Smith, Rocheal Gaston, Eric Smith, Sam Topel


By Lane Smith - Sponsored by

Photos by ACE Photography & Design - Location Direct Source Cabinets, 160 Kelly Road, Kalispell

We all know one. The “I make the best chili on the planet” guy. Or there is the guy that has the apron that says “No Beans or BS, just Chili.” But what is chili exactly? There is White chili, Green chili, Chili con Carne---in fact, if you Google the word chili the search engine gives over 1 BILLION results. So, who can say what EXACTLY goes into chili? In my continued cursory search of the internet, I stumbled on what is perhaps the best description I have read—from WebMD no less. “Chili is a hearty soup or stew that’s quite unique. There are many different recipes and variations of ingredients.” While being unique holds its own charm, and the adage “variety is the spice of life” has more double entendres than there are chili recipes on the internet—good chili, for my family at least, holds a sacred spot in the 40-year history of our hunting camp.


My family’s hunting camp will celebrate its 40th year this year. To put that statement into perspective, 62 406


the first Macintosh computer, the first flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, Ronald Reagan being elected to a second term all happened the same year my father decided he was going to take his boys to “hunting camp” for the first time. The stories from the years leading up to now deserve their own book, but this article is about chili—and how volunteering to make it for camp became a sacred tradition.

I don’t know exactly when Dad started bringing chili to camp. As our camp grew, I am sure its arrival on the fire was predicated on necessity and affordability. I can still see the chili pot (we use the same one to this day) on the grate over the fire with a ripped piece of tin foil as a lid. Some years the tin foil kept out the rain and other years it was the snow—because the chili never left the fire ring. In the early years it was both a main dish and condiment. Often added on to eggs or hashbrowns, chili was as ubiquitous as salt and pepper in hunting camp. The ultimate staple that simply became known as Pops’ Chili. Throughout the years that my father made his chili, contrary to popular belief, it was not the same year in and year out. My father rarely followed a recipe,

and most years the chili was a product of what meat needed to be used up from the freezer and what Dad could afford to be honest. Most years it was venison hamburger from the year before and some years there was often pork in it—both sausage and/ or almost freezer burnt pork chops cut up. But Dad’s chili always FELT the same. Comforting on any day in any way—it was just as important as the warmth from the fire that it rarely left. So, when the time came for my father to “turn over his ladle,” there was a void that many have tried to fill. One of the closest recipes to recapture that feeling can be found on these pages. I will get to more of that in a minute. I remember the conversation. “Who is going to make chili this year?” I believe it was brother Darrell who asked that question as there wasn’t a day that went by back then that you didn’t at some point see him cradling a paper bowl in his lap of Pops’ chili. Piled high with rough cut onions (none of us learned how to “dice” until the advent of YouTube—seriously) and shredded processed cheese food (none of us could afford real cheddar— nor did we have a cheese grater in camp) Pops’ chili had to continue in camp even after his passing. But who would make it? --Note: I “think” I know who

But Dad’s chili always FELT the same. Comforting on any day in any way—it was just as important as the warmth from the fire that it rarely left.

food} In the Kitchen

made it that first year after Dad, and God love that person for the attempt, but they were doomed to fail. It could have been ambrosia with chili beans, and it would not have measured up to Pops’ chili—so I will not name names here.-- Needless to say, when the question came up the next year “Who is going to make chili this year?” felt akin to volunteering to charge into a gun fight carrying a pillow. The tradition was born. Over the years people have had varying approaches. Some wing it the week before, others research hundreds of recipes and combine them (yours truly, thank goodness for peanut butter—google it—you’ll find out what I did) and then there are a chosen few that practiced. Religiously. All with varying degrees of success and failure. Those of us that have decided to volunteer are a select group willing to take the proverbial bullet for camp. When volunteering to make chili for camp, there are three possible outcomes. One: it’s a colossal failure that lives in the late-night campfire lore, spoken of with both mirth and sharp sarcasm. Two: it becomes one of those batches of chili that make people ask, “who made chili last year?” (To be quite honest, I revel in being in this group. Anonymity for Pops’ chili is WAY better than infamy. See outcome #1.) And then there is the holy grail of Pops’ Chili volunteer corps. The guys that knocked it out of the park. Of which there are two that made a chili that not only tasted spectacular...it felt right. The latter cannot be attained through quality of ingredients, quantity of ingredients nor time spent practicing. It’s an alchemy of spices, traditions, sacrifice and love. Sounds romantic and terrifying because it is. I suspect that you readers are expecting names. And I can assure you that all the fellas you see in these pages reside in the anonymity category for volunteering for Pops’ Chili. We borrowed the recipe from one of the aforementioned greats. Why his recipe and not the other? Well, the other guy’s recipe takes a week....

When I asked Eric and Sam to come help me with this article they didn’t hesitate. Eric is my next oldest brother—yes, he’s older. And Sam is Eric’s favorite (only) son-in-law that shares our passion for cooking. And by passion I do not mean the all-consuming need to create a meal, for us the passion is in the process. There is no better ingredient for cooking than cooking with people that fill your pot—both figuratively and literally. Thanks Fellas. Couldn’t have done it without you. And a special thanks to Jr. It’s always good to learn from your failures. Thankfully your chili is a bit better known than the ill-fated mac and cheese balls. With our 40th year approaching I wonder who will volunteer this year? Until then, grab what you have laying around, add some beans and make some chili. It’s that time of the year to practice. I’ll sit this one out, my until is going to take a bit longer. #andaquarter Patience and Temperance



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food} In the Kitchen

Sausage and Apple Pinwheels Ingredients

1 pkg. (17.5 oz) puff pastry (2 sheets) 1 pound ground pork sausage 1 cup finely diced onion (one small onion) 1 cup shredded apple, peeled (Use a firm apple—Granny Smith or Gala) 4 fresh sage leaves, minced (about ½ tablespoon) 4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded 1 large egg 1 tablespoon milk or cream

Cast Iron Buttermilk Cornbread

1 cup butter (divided) 2/3 cup white sugar 2 large eggs 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 chopped green onions (Optional) Honey


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly whisk in eggs. Combine buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl; whisk mixture into the skillet. Stir in cornmeal, flour, green onions (If desired) and salt until well-blended. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Soften the remaining half cup of butter and stir in honey. Using a brush, coat the cornbread immediately after removing from the oven. Serve Warm.

Tasting Notes


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add sausage and onion. Cook, breaking up the sausage into small pieces, until sausage is cooked through and onions are translucent. Add apple and continue to cook until apple is softened. Sprinkle in sage and stir to combine.

Roll out each puff pastry sheet and shape roughly into a square. Spread sausage mixture evenly over each piece, leaving a finger's width border on one end.

Sprinkle cheese over sausage mixture. Moisten the border end with water.

Roll from opposite end (not the wet end) tightly and seal along moistened end. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Place roll in freezer for 45-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, lightly whisk egg and milk or cream.

Remove roll from freezer and cut into 1/2-inch slices; place evenly spaced on prepared baking sheets. Brush pinwheels with egg mixture.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with Beer Cheese (see next recipe)

Recipe Sponsored by

Charcuterie board by SM Woodworks www.sm-woodworks.com

Mustard Beer Cheese Dip Ingredients

1 8 oz package cream cheese 1 6 oz package sharp cheddar cheese 1 1/2 tablespoon Franks RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce 2 tablespoons Stone Ground Dijon Mustard 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 cup Sunrift Sol Gravy Stout Beer


Combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Cayenne Pepper Sauce, Mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic powder in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on High 2 - 3 minutes, stirring once halfway, until smooth.

Dust the top with Smoked Paprika and top with finely diced white onion if desired.

Genesis Kitchen

Chipotle Infused Olive Oil - The smoky flavor of this chili-infused oil is great for marinating steaks and brushing on grilled chicken or seafood. Drizzle over vegetables or pizza for a spicy meal. An excellent dipping oil for artisan breads, finishing oil for soups, pasta or grain dishes, and a wonderful base for dressings and marinades.


Genesis Kitchen

270 Nucleus Columbia Falls, MT Mon-Sat 10am - 6pm 406-897-2667 - Info@genesis-kitchen.com

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FH Fish & Seafood Company Wild caught seafood

3820 MT Hwy 40 W in Columbia Falls www.flatheadfishandseafood.com

Chopp Shoppe No hormones or antibiotics Choice to Wagyu Grade Hours 9am-7pm…all week long 721 Wisconsin Ave in Whitefish

food} In the Kitchen

There is no better ingredient for cooking than cooking with people that fill your pot—both figuratively and literally.

Jr.'s Chili


2 Packages of Carrol Shelby’s Chili mix 2.25 Pounds ground red meat (Bison/Beef) cook with The Chopp Shoppe Steak Seasoning 2 pounds of Hot Italian Sausage 2 pounds of top round steak. Seared and then placed in crockpot. Sliced into Bitsize chunks (Longer it cooks in the crockpot the more tender) 6 tbsp of Genesis Kitchen Chipotle Olive Oil (divided) 2 packages of mini pepperonis 3 (15 Ounce) cans Chili Beans, drained 2 (15 ounce) can of Chili beans in Spicy or Medium Sauce

2 large yellow onions chopped 3 stalks of celery chopped 2 Green Bell Peppers diced 2 Red Peppers diced 2 Jalapenos diced (Keep seeds in if want some spice, I do) 2 Poblano peppers diced 4 cubes beef bouillon (Or 1 tbs of Better than Boullion) 16 oz of Sunrift Sol Gravy Stout Beer 3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce 4 tbsp of minced Garlic (or more to taste) 2 tbsp dried oregano 3 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp of dried basil

2 (28 Ounce) cans of diced tomatoes with juice

Hot pepper sauce such as tabasco or siracha. I use siracha to taste (add in increments as the chili cooks).

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce

3 tsp of cayenne pepper 3 tsp of smoked paprika


tle oil, sear steak and transfer to You will need two crockpots or one crock pot or stock pot. large stock pot and a large skillet. Using the same skillet from the Heat a skillet on high, add 2 tbsp previous step, add 2 tbsp of chipoof chipotle oil and then crumble tle oil and sauté all vegetables and ground beef, season, cook to peppers until softened. Transfer to brown. Add Carrol Shelby’s (minus crock pot or stock pot. the flour) by instructions on package and then add tomato sauce. Once all the meat and vegetables Transfer to crock pot or stock pot. are cooked and put in crockpots or stock pot. Begin adding all other Using the same skillet from the ingredients. previous step, crumble Italian sausage, cook to brown and transfer to Simmer for 2 hours, taste and crock pot or stock pot. season additionally where needed. Then continue to simmer – the Using the same skillet from the longer it simmers (6-10 hours) the previous step, add 2 tbsp of chipo- better flavors will meld together.



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Enjoy 20% off on your tinned fish purchase when you mention this ad. www.genesis-kitchen.com 270 Nucleus Ave. Columbia Falls Monday through Saturday 10am to 6pm - 406-897-2667

-Vinaigrette Kits for Salad Dressings or Marinades-


-Experience Our Curated Salt Flights406

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food} Ask the Butcher

Ask the Butcher

By Collin “Sonny” Johnson, Chöpp Shöppe at Alpine Village Photos by ACE Photography & Design

Time to rest…seems fitting after the holidays to believe this more than ever. But…the rest I'm referring to is the rest time that you give to the protein that you’ve cooked.

Chopp Shoppe The Flathead’s Premier Butcher Shop No hormones or antibiotics Choice to Wagyu Grade Mon. - Sat. 9am-7pm Closed on Sunday 721 Wisconsin Ave in Whitefish

Every piece of protein has different characteristics and typically everyone likes their meat cooked to a different level (rare, medium rare, medium, and well done) …so resting time can vary from 3 to 30 minutes. The resting time lets the protein purge the moisture back through the sealed or seared product and/or finish the cook process without over cooking. So, remember to rest…it will make your protein taste a whole lot better. Enjoy the new year and thanks for your support! ...Sonny




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Buffalo Hill Golf Club Restaurant Kalispell’s Historic Undiscovered Eatery Written by Mary Wallace Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography

It might seem surprising to know that throngs of locals have been hanging out at Buffalo Hill Golf Course lately. Wait… WHAT? It’s winter . . . why are they at the golf course? It’s not golf season. The course is all buttoned up and even though there are some limited winter course activities, it is cold outside. So what is it, exactly? The FOOD, of course! Buffalo Hill, Kalispell’s oldest and finest golf course, is located in the heart of the city, and steeped in area history. It has been consistently listed in Golf Digest’s top courses to play. But we are not here to discuss that today. One of Kalispell’s best kept secrets is the Buffalo Hill Golf Course Restaurant. Serious golfers have always coveted the bonus of great food and signature drinks offered before or after their game. But area foodies, who often take their food more seriously than golf, are choosing Buffalo Hill Golf Course Restaurant for a little dining enjoyment this winter season. The restaurant is, and always has been, open to the public. One does not have to be golfing to enjoy the clubhouse.

The crew in the kitchen pride themselves on sourcing the highest quality meats and fresh produce available for all of their culinary efforts. Their menu is made from scratch daily; even their salad dressings and desserts are all freshly house made.

“Our menu is partially structured to a key demographic at the course,” said Floor Manager Keli Pelc. “A good percentage of customers are retired, so comfort food is certainly popular.” Seasonal menu changes offer opportunities for the staff at the club to shake things up and introduce some more extraordinary offerings every now and then. Those with more discerning palates are certainly enjoying the wide variety of menu offerings and daily specials.


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One of the favorite menu items on the Buffalo Hill winter seasonal menu is the Montana Waldorf Salad - which includes fresh greens, craisins, red and green grapes, granny smith apple, candied pecan, red onion and goat cheese topped with a 6 oz grilled Bison steak.

profile}Buffalo Hill

The clubhouse atmosphere and ambiance rival any other valley dining establishments, making it a place for friends and family to relax by the fire this time of year and enjoy the culinary delights. The restaurant is open for winter hours, currently 9 am to 2 pm Tuesdays - Fridays. Patrons can come in and relax in the ambiance of the crackling fireplace and order off the menu or choose from the daily specials.

The winter season brings a schedule of holiday parties and luncheons large and small, ranging from groups of 10 to up to 105 people. The club has a private conference room for smaller gatherings, and the entire space is available for larger gatherings during the off season. Menus for private parties can be arranged and can include anything from hors d’oeuvres and desserts to full entries. Evening events are typically scheduled with a cocktail hour at 6 pm and dinner served at 7 pm but can also be structured to the needs of the group event. The helpful staff at the club are pros at making any corporate gathering, holiday party, family reunion, wedding, or rehearsal dinner, or group meeting a success.

The clubhouse was constructed in 1939 on land that the Charles Conrad family previously used as buffalo pasture. The clubhouse and new golf course were constructed with the help of the City of Kalispell and the Works Progress Administration (a program that put unemployed people to work during the Great Depression). Similar golf course/clubhouse projects were accomplished for Whitefish and Polson golf course projects at the same time. Other than some periodic remodels, the historic clubhouse has remained virtually the same as when it was originally built. The clubhouse atmosphere and ambiance rival any other valley dining establishments, making it a place for friends and family to relax by the fire this time of year and enjoy the culinary delights.

The restaurant is open for the winter from 9 am – 2 pm Tuesday through Friday for breakfast and lunch. Call 406-756-4551 to reserve for a larger group. Visit https://www.golfbuffalohill.com/ restaurant/amenities to view their seasonal menus. Grab some friends and make a point of visiting the Buffalo Hill Golf Course Restaurant soon. You won’t be disappointed!



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Liquid Assets By Mary Wallace

Interest in the Bigfork Liquor Barn Barrel Club has grown and the Liquor Barn crew were absolutely delighted that the October private opening event had the biggest turnout yet! Barrel Clubs exist all around the world, and in most cases, their members have to be accepted into a secret society or pay an outrageous fee to join. But the Bigfork Barrel Club was created simply in the interest of forming a more inclusive whiskey group in the Flathead Valley. It is absolutely FREE to join and ALL members are accepted. But what is so special about these private barrel picks and why be a member of a barrel club? Let’s take a look at whiskey aging processes. All whiskey must age in a wooden barrel or cask before it is deemed “acceptable” for consumption. Major distilleries produce up to 1000 barrels per day, but some dedicate some of their extra casks to a barrel program for unique aging processes and private bottling.

Typically whiskey is aged in oak barrels, which impart unique flavours and aromas to the spirit over time. During the ageing process, the whiskey interacts with the wood of the barrel, as well as with the environment in which it is stored, such as temperature and humidity, leading to changes in its chemical composition.


The longer the whiskey is aged, the more complex and refined its flavour profile becomes. As the whiskey ages, it becomes smoother,

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with a more mellow and balanced taste. In addition, the whiskey ageing process can also add flavours such as vanilla, caramel, and spice to the whiskey, creating a more intricate and nuanced flavour profile.

Barreled whiskey gains desirable flavors because wood is porous. Barrels “breathe” the surrounding air, which imparts additional complexity to the liquid. For instance, a distillery that may be near the ocean could contribute a slightly briny quality to its contents. As a rule of thumb, the longer a whiskey ages, the more valuable it will become. Additionally, whiskeys that have been aged for a number of years are typically considered to be of higher value than younger whiskeys, as they have had more time to develop and mature in the barrel. These older whiskeys often command a premium price due to their complexity and depth of flavour.

As a matter of fact, whiskey cask investment has begun to command an out-of-the-box addition to some lucrative investment portfolios. While new to many, whiskey cask investment has a rich history, and provides a unique opportunity for individuals looking for a long-term investment option. Additionally, since a small percentage of alcohol will naturally evaporate from the spirit while maturing in the warehouses (known as ‘the angel’s share’), this enables casks to be classified as a wasting asset, making them exempt from Capital Gains Tax.

So, here’s how it works: Scotch whiskey must spend at least three years in a cask before it can officially be classified as Scotch whiskey. Historically, distilleries have sold a percentage of their whiskey casks each year primarily to generate working capital. This provides investors with the opportunity to buy these whiskey casks and mature them before selling them back to the distillery. Typically, investors should consider buying the whiskey

food} Whiskey

While new to many, whiskey cask investment has a rich history, and provides a unique opportunity for individuals looking for a long-term investment option. as young as possible as it may offer greater percentage returns for those with the patience to wait, as well as a more affordable initial investment.

Investing in maturing casks of Scotch whiskey provides the unique opportunity to take advantage of whiskey's natural appreciation as it matures. Well-aged whiskey is typically regarded as higher quality, as the casks can round out the spirit over time, creating a more pleasurable experience.

Investors are also adding bottled spirits to their portfolios, but once whiskey goes in a bottle, it virtually stays the same permanently. Bottled whiskey can rise in value, but not because of ever-evolving contents. Instead, the price tag relies on a brand’s popularity and the number of bottles in circulation. Potential returns increase as a brand becomes more popular and bottles become scarcer.

Alas, not being investment advisors, we are not here to offer any advice today. The team at Bigfork Liquor Barn would simply like to invite you to visit www.bigforkliquorbarn.com and click on EMAIL SIGNUP to get future notices of Bigfork Liquor Barn Barrel Club events. The Barrel Club is free to join and members are invited to specially curated private openings, privy to first-access all barrel-pick selections, first-to-know priority on future barrel selections, and discounts on featured barrel-pick bottles prior to release in the store.



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Winter Culinary Herb Gardening By Michael Connolly, General Manager Hooper’s Garden Center - hoopersgarden.com

Growing your own fresh herbs indoors to offset the doldrums of winter is a great way to keep gardening and add vibrant fresh flavors in your cooking. Benefits include a variety of foliage and shapes, a consistent supply of herb leaves for cooking, fragrant foliage, monetary savings over buying fresh herbs at the store, and the pleasure and enjoyment of new growth and life when the outside world is fast asleep. Fresh herbs are a culinary game changer that dried herbs just cannot equal. Culinary herbs belong to two main plant families: Grown for their foliage and seeds, the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) has herbs such as Chervil, Cilantro/Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Lovage, and Parsley. Grown primarily for their aromatic leaves, the Mint Family (Lamiaceae) of herbs consists of Basil, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.

Similar to houseplants, indoor growing of herbs requires certain conditions to grow and thrive. Unlike most houseplants, herbs are not as tolerant to less than optimal growing conditions and their health will quickly decline when they are not met. Herbs are most often Mediterranean type plants and as a result thrive in warm temperatures and an abundance of sunlight. Neither of these conditions are common in Montana winter home environments so here are some guidelines for optimum indoor herb growing.


Maintain air temperatures of 65- 70°F Day and 55- 60°F Night. Herbs grown in lower temperatures will survive but will not thrive. Exceptions to this would be Chives and Parsley which prefer cooler temperatures.

Growers Tip: Maintaining a warm soil temperature (minimum 70°F) provides fantastic growing results and the best flavored herbs.



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Herbs prefer a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight. This is practically impossible to achieve in Montana in the winter so invest in Full Spectrum Grow Lights and keep light on your herbs for 14-16 hours, but not any longer as your plants need their rest. There are several lighting options available from fluorescent bulbs to LED lighting to meet any budget. Place plants within a foot of the Bulbs or follow the instructions provided with your lights and adjust as necessary, rotating your plants often to ensure uniform growth. You may grow your plants in any location as long as they receive the recommended amount of light.

Growers Tip: Avoid windowsills. Many sources may recommend them, but in Montana they are too drafty and bring about unhealthy plants.

home} Hooper’s Garden

Containers/Pots - Soil

Grow your herbs in containers with drainage holes and utilize a good potting soil mix that is not too rich. Container size will be determined by the size of your plants, but make sure you do not put a small plant into a large pot. Gradually upsize your container as your plant grows if you are starting out from seed or small plants. Growing each herb in its own container is HIGHLY recommended for managing each plant's individual needs.

Growers Tip: Use a Cactus or Succulent Potting Soil Mix for amazing plant vitality and health.


Watering will vary greatly by plant type, temperature, and many other variables so water each herb as needed, being careful not to overwater. Most herbs like to be on the slightly dry side, but make sure that Basil and Rosemary do not dry out completely. Utilize saucers or trays under pots to collect water and make certain to drain them so your herbs never sit in water. Fertilize once every other week with a good water-soluble fertilizer to keep the nutritional needs of your herbs satisfied.

Growers Tip: Learn to water your herbs by weight and not the feel of the soil for a more accurate measurement of your plants' watering needs.

Air Circulation-Humidity

Maintaining a balanced indoor growing environment between adequate air circulation and humidity is a challenge in Montana homes. Grouping your plants together helps to create a more humid environment but make certain

there is adequate spacing between the plants for proper air circulation which will decrease the chance of fungal diseases.

Growers Tip: Including English Ivy plants with your herb plant groupings will significantly increase humidity because of their high transpiration rate.


The timing for harvesting your herbs will vary by type, but once they reach 6” tall or wide you can begin to harvest, making sure to never remove more than a third of the plant at any one time.

Growers Tip: Pinching back just above a leaf encourages branching and more bushy plants with more leaves.

Similar to houseplants, indoor growing of herbs requires certain conditions to grow and thrive. Unlike most houseplants, herbs are not as tolerant to less than optimal growing conditions and their health will quickly decline when they are not met.

Every cook has their specific way of using specific herbs in their culinary pursuits, but not all herbs grow well indoors. These are some recommended herbs for growing indoors:

Basil Chervil Chives Cilantro Marjoram

Oregano Parsley Rosemary Sage Thyme

Growers Tip: Try growing Tri-Colored or Golden leaved Sage varieties. Their flavor is not as pronounced as common Sage, but they grow better indoors and look very attractive. Hooper’s Garden Center 2205 MT Highway 35 E in Kalispell 406-752-2770 www.hoopersgarden.com

Michael Connolly has been gardening, growing, landscaping, professionally designing and educating within horticulture for nearly 40 years, including being a member of the Hooper’s Garden Center family for over 30 years. A graduate from the University of Minnesota Agricultural Campus. He is a proud father of four amazing children and is passionate about educating and helping others in realizing the true beauty of plants in the outdoor and indoor landscape environment.



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local author} Debbie Burke

Hungry Horse Dam

A Dam Good Setting for a Mystery Montana has its share of unusual names for landmarks. For instance, Hungry Horse Dam. Where did that come from? Here’s the legend, which might even be true:

The winter of 1900-01 was especially brutal in northwest Montana. Two freight horses, Jerry and Tex, were working at a logging operation when they wandered off and got lost. A month after they’d gone missing, loggers found them in belly-deep snow, emaciated but alive. Someone exclaimed, “That’s a mighty hungry horse.” Not sure why he didn't mention two horses.

Happily, loggers nursed Jerry and Tex back to health and they moved to new jobs in Kalispell, pulling a fire wagon and a delivery wagon. The moniker Hungry Horse caught on. It was attached to a creek and a mountain, and later to the town and the dam.


The idea of building a dam had been studied since the 1920s to control flooding in the Flathead Val-

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By Debbie Burke

ley and produce hydroelectric power. During World War II, demands for electricity increased, and the project was finally green-lighted. However, construction didn’t begin until 1948, too late for the war effort.

The first phase of the job required clearing 7000 acres of trees. Fortunately, for one family of golden eagles, a contractor named John Trisdale was a nature lover.

In an area scheduled to be cleared, Trisdale spotted an occupied eagle’s nest atop a 70-foot-tall larch snag. He sent the workers far away from the snag to avoid disturbing the nest. Months later, after the young eagles had grown up and flown away, he brought the loggers back to remove the now-vacated larch. During five years of construction, several thousand laborers came to Northwest Montana seeking good-paying jobs and adventure. Some adventures, though, happened after working hours.

An enterprising businesswoman named Glessie Lydston (AKA Mabel the Madam) recognized that single men far from home needed entertainment. She operated an establishment called Sugar Hill in a bright pink house in Martin City. Her young ladies were always tastefully dressed and mannerly.

Every month, Mabel took them to a doctor for health checks. I learned that tidbit from a woman who'd worked at the clinic back in the day. Mabel’s reputation for high standards earned her surprising endorsements from a local minister and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

local author} Debbie Burke A retired deputy (now deceased) gave credit to Sugar Hill and Mabel for maintaining order and keeping the peace. He stated, “Not one rape occurred during that [five-year] period.”

In the community, Mabel was well known for her generosity. She always carried a pocketful of quarters to give to children. She organized winter coat drives and food baskets for the poor. After she died, the new owners of the pink house found bank records showing her frequent donations to law enforcement charities.

In 1952, the dam was finished at a cost of more than $100 million. That October, President Harry Truman and his daughter Margaret attended the dam's inauguration. The President threw the switch to begin generating electricity. Since then, the dam has produced a billion kilowatthours each year.

Fun fact: Margaret Truman later became the bestselling author of the Capital Crimes Mystery Series set in Washington D.C.

I first visited Hungry Horse Dam in the 1980s. The arching 560-foot-high concrete landmark struck me as a great location for a mystery. I knew it would eventually find its way into one of my books.

That time came in 2015 when I was doing research for a magazine article about the vulnerability of the electric grid. I was shocked to learn that a smartphone had the capability to hack into a power plant's computer. Using a smartphone, a tech-savvy bad actor could sabotage the computer that controls electrical generation and cause disastrous, widespread power failures and blackouts. (Thankfully, security has improved since then.)

At the same time, I was struggling to figure out my first smartphone. It confounded me with strange tones and bizarre jargon I didn’t understand. Sometimes the screen went black and couldn’t be turned on. I repeatedly took it back to the phone store where the guy rolled his eyes. Clearly, he thought the phone was far too smart for me. Meanwhile, my imagination blended mysteriously with reality. What if a woman who’s intimidated by technology can’t work her smartphone? What if a terrorist remotely takes control of her phone? What if he uses it to launch a cyberattack on the power grid that she’ll be blamed for?

Characters came to life: a 50-year-old recent widow who is a part-time employee at Hungry Horse Dam; a dashing terrorist who romances the widow and gains access to the dam. His secret weapon is a rigged smartphone—the instrument of the devil—which he uses to monitor her every move while setting her up to take the fall. As I was writing the book, news stories surfaced of attempted cyberattacks on power plants. I knew then I was onto a timely, significant concept. Instrument of the Devil became my first published novel. And Hungry Horse Dam looms large in the story. The book won awards, became a bestseller in women’s adventure, and launched my thriller series that now consists of eight books.

The scenes where the heroine constantly fights with her frustrating smartphone are autobiographical. The rest of the story is pure fiction— the handsome, sexy terrorist, illicit money, federal officers chasing her, kidnapping, and a life-or-death showdown. My real life isn’t nearly that exciting!

As of 2024, Hungry Horse Dam has generated electricity for 72 years. To celebrate, I'm planning an anniversary visit to give thanks for the historic landmark that mysteriously inspired Instrument of the Devil. Post script: I finally took my aggravating smartphone to a different store. The young woman there didn’t roll her eyes. Instead, she ran diagnostic tests (which the other guy never did), took it apart, and proclaimed, “This phone was defective the day it came out of the factory.” Guess I wasn’t so stupid, after all.

Instrument of the Devil and Debbie Burke’s other books are available in Kalispell at The BookShelf and Northwest History Museum (Central School), and at Bad Rock Books in Columbia Falls. Ebook: https://books2read.com/ instrument-of-the-devil Do you belong to a Book Club? Debbie would love to meet with your group. Email debbieburkewriter@gmail.com Visit debbieburkewriter.com for a free short story and book news. Email: debbieburkewriter@gmail.com Website: www.debbieburkewriter.com Twitter: @burke_writer



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“Off Key Notes” What Album Changed Your Life? By Bob Hamilton

I am a life-long lover of rock, pop and soul music, and admittedly, I perhaps have too much time on my hands these days. This has, however, allowed me to keep exploring new musical paths—like my recent “baby step” forays into the world of Jazz! In perusing my music collection recently, I asked myself some questions. From the drop of the needle to begin side 1 to the final notes of the last song of side 2, which albums moved me in some way? Opened doors to new ideas? Helped me to evolve? Altered my perspective or previously held perceptions about something or someone? Like a good book, transported me to another place? Made me the most happy--or perhaps even altered the course of my life? While these questions seemed simple, I had unexpectantly given myself a huge and rather unwieldy task. I love so many different artists, songs and recordings. How could I possibly narrow it down to just one or two ALBUMS in my effort to answer these questions? This column is my awkward effort to provide


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some answers. I am sure of only two things at this point. The recordings that I have considered in my quest are all truly “albums” in every sense of the word as originally intended by the artist(s). That is, they are not compilations or greatest hits packages. Secondly, I can assure you that this list of albums (a ridiculously small number of just 3) will forever be changing for me as time goes on. So in no particular order, here we go:

Led Zeppelin “Physical Graffiti” (1975)

Like a lot of kids in high school in the 70’s, I came to worship this powerful British quartet! This double album was loaded with Zep classics from end to end. It ultimately became my gateway to the world of album rock, and before long I purchased all of Zeppelin’s other albums at the gaudy price of let’s say $7.99 each. Prior to this, I was mostly listening to Top 40 on AM radio. “PG,” as we called it, opened up a whole new world. I would much later find out that music on “PG” was heavily influenced by Middle Eastern, swing, blues and 50’s era rock n roll. At the time, I just knew it sounded heavy and loud as well

as tender and mesmerizing all at once. Jimmy Page’s guitarwork on “Kashmir” will never be duplicated.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young “Déjà Vu” (1970)

After arriving at college in ’77 armed with a stereo system that played all the contemporary bands (Aerosmith, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, etc.) perhaps a little too loudly, I was introduced to this album by an older hippie-ish guy in the dorm. In short, it changed my world. First, this music was by this time all of SEVEN years old. Nothing that “old” could be any good, or so I naively thought. Secondly, the lyrics, harmonies, storytelling and the MESSAGE that CSNY delivered became important and very relevant to me then and moving forward, and it was done with tenderness and passion. Listening to this album invited me to explore music from the previous generation (50’s, 60’s & early 70’s) and to realize that song writing was an art form. I think I became a collector of music because of the door that was opened here. “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” and “Teach Your Children” remain two of my favorite songs ever.

From the drop of the needle to begin side 1 to the final notes of the last song of side 2, which albums moved me in some way? “American Beauty” Grateful Dead (1970)

Talk about literally altering the course of one’s life…. In the spring of ’79, I recall being invited to a gathering at an off-campus house notorious for its’ rather bohemian atmosphere and partying ways. As the lights got low at some point in the middle of the night, a guy put on an album by a group I had never heard of. I ask, “Who is this?” The response is “It’s Jerry, man. You know, the Dead, man.” Actually no, I don’t know. But as the album concludes 41 minutes later and after guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir have led me on a musical journey that includes touches of folk, country and psychedelic rock, I do, in fact, “know.” Four days later, I attended my first Grateful Dead show in Boston—indeed the first of many over decades. And the rest shall they say is history. Perhaps there’s fodder for another column here LOL. Have your own list of albums that “changed your life?” Send us your thoughts to our editor via email at montanakristen@gmail.com.

Honorable Mentions

A Very Incomplete List of Albums That Changed My Consciousness “Abbey Road” The Beatles

“Alone Together” Dave Mason

“Dark Side of the Moon” Pink Floyd

“The Stranger” Billy Joel

“John Barleycorn” Traffic

“The Doors” (debut album)

“Innervisions” Stevie Wonder

“Who’s Next” The Who

“Life for Rent” Dido

“Are You Experienced?” The Jimi Hendrix Experienced

“Imagine” John Lennon

“Exile on Main Street” “After the Gold Rush” The Rolling Stones Neil Young

“Infidels” Bob Dylan

“Fragile” Yes

“Revolver” The Beatles

“Tapestry” Carole King

“War” U2

“Tracy Chapman” (debut album)

“Scarecrow” John Mellencamp

music} Off Key Notes

Remembering Sirens of Song Female Pioneering Singer/Songwriters

Dusty Springfield Hailed by many critics and fans as perhaps the best pop and soul singer Britain has ever produced, Dusty Springfield charted several 1960’s hits in the US and the UK. Unfortunately, her soulful work is often overshadowed today by that of her contemporaries like Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick while her pop style is often confused with fellow female singers Petula Clark and Jackie DeShannon among others. Springfield was born Mary O’Brien in 1939 on the outskirts of London. Her love of music came early, and by the time she was a teenager she had developed the husky, bluesy voice and style that would eventually dub her as the “Queen of Blue-Eyed Soul.” Dusty took her stage name after joining a folksy trio known as “The Springfields” which achieved some success on the British charts in 1962-63 as well as some rare success (for a pre-Beatles British act) in the US with their song “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” reaching the Top 20 here. In late ‘63, the trio disbanded allowing Dusty to pursue a very successful solo career. Over the next five years, she became a staple on the charts with a string of classic hits such as “I Only Want to Be With You”, “Wishin’ And Hopin’ “, and “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” to name just a few. She made regular television appearances on both sides of the Atlantic and came to somewhat personify the “Swingin’ 60’s.” It was a role and stereotype that she did not relish.

Despite her run of success, Dusty was not incredibly pleased with her body of work. Long an admirer of Motown and the Memphis soul sounds epitomized by Stax Records, she came to the US in search of new music and recording techniques that would capture her soulful side. Her search for her “true sound” reached its’ pinnacle in 1968-69 with the recording and release of her classic album, still often overlooked, titled simply “Dusty in Memphis.” The album, anchored by the sultry classic “The Look of Love” and the seminal and soulful “Son of A Preacher Man” did not find commercial success initially, but eventually gained wide acclaim as one of the great recordings of the 2Oth century. In 2020, the album was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant---and for being one of the most important recordings produced by a woman in the rock era.” Springfield’s career after “Dusty in Memphis” proved to be inconsistent. She moved to America in 1970 and was beset by drug addiction and other personal issues which included persistent questions about her sexuality. She continued to record and had a career renaissance of sorts when she provided vocals on the Pet Shop Boys 1987 hit “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” which reached #2 on the charts in both the US and Europe. More notice came as her songs were used in movie soundtracks and discovered by new fans. This included the use of “Son of a Preacher Man” in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. Dusty passed away in 1999 following a long battle with breast cancer. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two weeks later by her friend, Elton John. A biopic of Dusty Springfield depicting her career and her fight for sexual equality is currently in the early stages of production.



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Dreams By Callie Reagan and Alana Wright, Wright’s Furniture

As humans, we sleep about one-third of our lives on average if we get the standard eight hours a night. In the United States one in three people are sleep deprived according to the CDC and women are 40% more likely to suffer from insomnia. Researchers have shown that chronic lack of sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Looking to improve health this new year? Starting with a good night's rest can be the best place to start. It can even play a part in weight loss. Sleep studies with the CDC have listed poor mattresses as 49.1% of the reason for a poor night's rest. Wright’s Furniture is bringing something new to help you fix this starting in 2024! Spring Air mattresses are the winner of the Woman’s Choice Award and Wright’s Furniture has an exclusive design in four collection options: Back Supporter Hybrid, Chattam & Wells, Four Seasons, and Nature’s Rest.

Back Supporter Hybrid

Great for those who need a little more back support with pressure-relieving comfort all in one. Layers of support and comfort technologies like gel foams, comfort edges, and phase-changing materials keep you supported all night long.

Four Seasons

A collection for all seasons with the ability to flip for ideal fabrics for different seasons. Cooling yarns are used for the warmer months and wool fibers are used on the opposite side for those colder winter months. This fourseason mattress will keep you in comfort in any season.

Chattam & Wells

This royal collection is luxury and craftsmanship at its finest. Details focused on comfort and support use lavish materials like cashmere, royal silken damask, and portraitencased pocket coils that give you more edge-to-edge sleeping.


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Nature’s Rest

This collection’s focus is the natural comforts and support with sustainability in mind. This proven natural construction does not compromise on comfort while focusing construction and materials in a more natural option. Talalay and linen are used to offer comfort in your support and plushness preference.

design} Advanced sleep options and technologies are coming to Whitefish! Don’t be a statistic and deprive yourself of the health and life enriching sleep. Stop by the Wright’s Furniture’s beautiful showroom to find your best sleep aid. Just remember, if you select one of these beautiful Spring Air mattresses and put it in a guest room… you may not have guests, but a new roommate.

5 Tips to a Better Night Sleep

1. Get a mattress that fits your body type. There are affordable options that will fit you and your needs. 2. Keep your room dim and cool. 3. Train your body with a routine. Do a nightly routine of brushing your teeth, lotioning your skin, and other rituals to signal your body it's time to rest. 4. Stay on schedule. Just like your routine, your body will adjust and start to tell you when it's time to sleep. 5. Keep the screens out of the room. Use your room as an oasis for sleep and keep phones, TVs, and tablets to a minimum.

At Wrights you can find everything you need for a comfortable nights rest at Wright's including mattress pads and protectors, sheet sets, sleeping pillows, adjustable bed bases, headboards, bed frame sets, duvets, coverlets, toss pillows and more.

Wright’s Furniture is open 7 days a week, offering complimentary design services with free local delivery and install. Visit the Wright’s Furniture showroom in Whitefish or learn more at wrightsfurniturestore.net 6325 HWY 93 South, Whitefish, Montana 59937 | 406.862.2455 | Open Daily |Free Local Delivery | Free Design Services



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love} stories

Mikayla & Lukas Mountainside Weddings July 08, 2023


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Photos by Kristiann Photography

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We knew we wanted to get married in


near all of our friends and family. Tell us about yourselves...

Lukas and I are high school sweethearts from Kalispell. I work as an interior designer, and Lukas is an attorney. Together, we share our lives with our two cats Aster and Iris. We are bonded by our love of travel, history and live music.

Mikayla – What is the trait that you most admire in Lukas?

I admire Lukas for his unwavering kindness and nonjudgmental approach to everyone he encounters. He makes everyone feel included, valued and welcome. He inspires me to be a kinder person.

Lukas – When did you realize you wanted to get married to Mikayla?

When I moved away for college, I missed her so much that I wrote her a letter every day for 3 months. We spoke on the phone all the time, staying up late into the night reminiscing about our day, life, and each other. It soon became clear to me that I could not be apart from her, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.



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I closing out the night with our closest inner circle of friends and family ...It was such a joyful day.

Wedding Details… Venue Mountainside Weddings, Whitefish Photography Kristiann Photography Stationery Montana Paper Company Rentals Empress Tents and Events

Why did you choose the venue you did to get married?

We knew we wanted to get married in Montana near all of our friends and family, and Mountainside Weddings is unparalleled in beauty.

Mikayla – What did you enjoy most during your wedding day?

I enjoyed closing out the night with our closest inner circle of friends and family dancing barefoot and singing. It was such a joyful day.

Lukas – What is your favorite activity to do as a couple?


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We enjoy traveling together, here in the states and abroad. When we’re not traveling, we like to sit in coffee shops planning out our next adventure. We also love taking long drives through the forests and National parks.

Caterer Desoto Grille Music Bradshaw Media Dress Emma and Grace Bridal, Denver Tuxes/Suits Mimi’s Bridal Hair Brittany Brennan Makeup Beauty by Emily Rings McGough and Co., Anueva Jewelry

love} stories

Lauren &Trevor Glacier Meadow the Wedding Place - July 14, 2023 Photos by Christine Nicole Glacier Park Photographer


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After so many years of being and finally getting a chance with my best friend, it didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to marry her.

Tell us about yourselves...

Lauren: I’m from Kalispell, work for First Interstate Bank, and live in Kalispell. Trevor: I’m from Bozeman but now live in Kalispell. I work in construction specializing in glass and just finished my time in the Marine Corps reserves. We love adventuring in the outdoors, we have two Dogs names Apollo and Odin. We love serving and attending at FreshLife Church.

Lauren what do you admire most in Trevor?

I admire Trevor’s Heart, his love for God and how he is so kind to everyone he meets. He is so willing to help anyone in need and is such an incredible person.



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was the most special and amazing day of my life. I felt like everything was perfect without worry, everything was in God’s hands and it was more amazing than I could ever plan it to be. Trevor when did you realize you wanted to marry Lauren?

After so many years of being friends and finally getting a chance with my best friend, it didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to marry her. I think I started working on getting a ring after 6 months.

How did you choose the location for your wedding?

We chose the location for our venue based off the beauty of Glacier Park that we both grew up loving, and the affordability considering how many people we could have there. We wanted to share the joy with not only our family but many friends as well.


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Lauren what was your favorite part of your special day?

It truly was the most special and amazing day of my life. I felt like everything was perfect without worry, everything was in God’s hands and it was more amazing than I could ever plan it to be.

Trevor what is your favorite thing to do as a couple?

My favorite thing for us to do as a married couple is get out and explore the area. For me, I mainly know the Gallatin area so it’s amazing to go around and see what the Flathead outdoors has to offer. Going into Jewel Basin, Glacier National Park, and areas around Kila have been so much fun. I can’t wait to go skiing together up at Whitefish Mountain Resort this winter!

Wedding Details…

Wedding Venue Glacier Meadows the Wedding Place and Sacred Waters Photographer Christine Nicole Caterer Sacred Eats Cake Red Poppy

Dress Mimi’s Bridal for wedding dress and bridesmaid’s dresses were from Birdy Grey Suits The Modern Groom Rings Riddles Jewelry in Bozeman Shoes Joy’s Clothing on Etsy, custom collaboration Grooms Tie and Pocket Square Kind Design Custom

Drawn To The Lake by Carol Lee Thompson


Handcrafted and designed by

Local Artist Rochelle diamond






Montana yogo sapphires


pink tourmaline



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