406 contents featured 8. Parade of Homes
14. Margaret Russell Trex Decking Company 18. Poiema Flooring America 22. Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry 24. Bianka Zundel Whitefish Productions
business 28. I Want Her Job Ashley Eckstein 32. Social Media
non-profit 36. Changed Lives Kayla Oyler’s
34. Montana’s first-of-its-kind Pediatric Facility 38. North Valley Hospital Welcomes New Emergency Department Physicians 42. The Benefits of Teaching 44. SMILE MONTANA Dr. John F. Miller
Published by Skirts Publishing six times a year 704 C East 13th St. #138 Whitefish, MT 59937 firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright©2019 Skirts Publishing
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A Local Tradition The Flathead Building Association’s 2019 Parade of Homes
The Flathead Building Association is hosting the 2019 Parade of Homes September 13-15, 2019 and it is shaping up to be a fun weekend of touring and inspiration. Jessie Walthers, the Executive Director of the FBA, recently shared some details about the upcoming 2019 Parade of Homes. “We are excited to share this year’s Parade of Homes with the Flathead Valley Community! This year’s Parade features an excellent range of homes, from multi-million-dollar dream homes to a net-zero “off the grid” home, as well as family living, farmhouse styles, and an affordable townhome in the heart of the valley. It’s a diverse range for anyone wanting to see the latest in styles, products, designs, and those seeking inspiration for their home projects or looking to build… there will be beautiful views and options for any budget!”
Walthers went on to say that the FBA Parade of Homes builders and their teams will be on hand at each location to explain special features in oman.com
By Mary Wallace the homes, answer questions, and guide visitors through the homes.
Visitors who tour all the homes can also vote for the People’s choice and enter to win the Grand Prize, a $1000 shopping spree at any FBA Member. The Parade of Homes is a great way to explore the valley at a beautiful time of year and see the excellent craftsmanship of some of the Flathead’s most talented builders. Four Parade of Homes building contractors recently spoke with 406 WOMAN to share details about this year’s Parade home and why they choose to be members of the Flathead Building Association.
THE CONSTRUCTION GROUP MONTANA PANORAMA – RIDGELINE DRIVE, LAKESIDE
The Construction Group Montana, commonly identified as TCG Montana, is a high quality, custom, residential builder. Since its launch in 2013, TCG Montana has developed a dynamic leadership team of four individuals who have joined forces
to make beautiful homes and livable luxury. It all started when Terry Leiser, a company partner, retired from his industrial construction career on the west coast. His plan was to retire in Montana, but construction was not done with him yet. He knew he had more to build, which lead him to recruit his business partner, Cory Jones, to join him in his residential construction dreams. Charles Benton and Levi Ployhar soon came on board, working diligently to quickly become leaders in high-quality craftsmanship, relationship building, and customer loyalty in the Flathead Valley. In 2018, TCG Montana was honored to be recipients of the Flathead Building Association’s “Builder of the Year” award. With so many excellent builders in the valley, being distinguished in this manner was a humbling accomplishment for a company barely five years old. It is TCG Montana’s ability to discern their clients’ vision and realize their ideas which have allowed them to build a great community of satisfied customers. The entire team of approximately twenty employees and subcontractors make up the TCG Montana crew. They work together like all the perfect parts
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of a well-oiled machine. Their easy camaraderie, quality craftsmanship, and professional edge, as well as a company culture, allows them to work hard together and play hard together. All of this makes it easy to see why TCG Montana was named the 2018 Flathead Building Association “Builder of the Year”.
Attendees of the 2019 Parade of Homes will find TCG Montana’s Parade entry, “Panorama”, in Lakeside, MT. This home, reminiscent of the prairie style architecture, offers stunning views, open living spaces, rustic Montana stone fireplaces, a walk-out basement, and a unique three-bay garage. The custom features of this 3,705 square foot home reveal talent in design, foundation, framing, custom finishes, and stunning landscaping – all the handiwork of TCG Montana crews. Panorama has 4 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, numerous banks of windows, and unique stairway and deck railing systems.
SEVEN HILLS CONSTRUCTION
VALLEY VIEW FARMHOUSE – FARM TO MARKET ROAD, KALISPELL
Seven Hills Construction was formed in 2012 when two long-time friends decided that they not only had a knack for building things, it was something they loved to do. They pride themselves on being a one-stop-shop that produces a high-quality project. The core team includes Ben Davis, who serves as business manager, Josh Tullos, who is the construction/project manager, and Ben’s brother Jackson Davis, who does building design and also works on site on each project. There are nine fulltime employees, including seven carpenters on their staff. Their subcontractors are an integral part of the team and a thread of close communication between everyone ensures that each project is completed to the owner’s vision, budget, and timeline.
On any project, Seven Hills Construction’s first focus is to get to know their clients’ needs, lifestyle, and budget. Their goal is to make sure that, as the contractor, they share the same vision as their client. They pride themselves on being sharp on building science and making sure their crew of carpenters and subcontractors remain true to the vision. They offer a design/build program that includes a 3D design software that allows all involved to experience a virtual walk-through on each project. There is a pride of quality and craftsmanship on each and every project, and Seven Hills strives to incorporate local craftsmen as much as they can and source materials locally whenever possible.
Seven Hills Construction builds mid-range custom homes, but they also do remodels, additions, and commercial projects. They are proud to be counted among the building contractors who are members of the Flathead Building Association, knowing that their work is elevated to the highest of standards and professionalism.
Seven Hills Construction’s Parade of Homes entry, Valley View Farmhouse, is located on Farm to Market Road in Kalispell. The owners mean to eventually retire to this home and they hand-cut many of the timber beams that have been incorporated into the project. True to its name, the home features stunning views of the valley in every direction, a wrap-around deck, a large and inviting kitchen, a sunroom, and custom masonry fireplace. Embracing the owner’s roots, the home has a bit of a Cape Cod feel, but it is perfectly suited for a Montana lifestyle.
TL CUSTOM HOMES
WAKEWOOD DREAM – 250 WAKEWOOD DRIVE, KALISPELL
Long time FBA members, Tony and Lori Giardina of TL Custom Homes, are pleased to present their Parade of Homes entry, the Wakewood Dream, located in the Creston area. This stunning home is described as ‘Montana Contemporary’ in style and was built for a family with three kids. Totaling 5,900 square feet, this four-bedroom home has a countless number of spectacular features, including custom timber work and woodwork, an outdoor kitchen, a theater room, a copper-roofed turret, and a bridge between the main house and the master bedroom with a water feature running underneath. The use of natural and exotic wood materials, custom masonry work, and professionally designed landscaping truly showcases TL Custom Home’s sense for superior quality and craftsmanship.
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home. With over 25 years of experience, Mark has always operated with an eye for high-performance construction, along with the most efficient and green building practices possible in their new construction and remodel projects.
After obtaining a certification with the Building Performance Institute and the Home Energy Raters (HERS) network, he added Residential Building Failure Analysis (energy audits) to his services. The energy audits have not only become an integral part of their business but have provided valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t work in their new home construction.
TL Custom Homes offers a full-service approach to each building project. They do everything from start to finish, including original design and building plans, sitework, foundation, framing, and finishes- always incorporating the homeowner’s dream and vision into every aspect. Because they feel that respect, trust, honesty, and good communication are key elements in their success to working with their clients, they really take time to get to know each client’s lifestyle, family, preferences, and vision before the original designs are made, so much so, those lifelong friendships are formed even before each project breaks ground. TL Custom Homes clients come to know and love their construction crew so well that they continue to bring lunch to them at whatever project they move on to after their own is completed. Most of their business comes from referrals from their previous customers. Tony and Lori are equal partners in their business. Lori helps clients define their vision for their project and does all of the design work and accounting on each. Tony has the construction expertise and, along with each of his project managers, brings his conviction and pride for high quality craftsmanship to each building project. TL Custom Homes is blessed with four construction crews and numer-
ous subcontractors, many who have been with them since they began their business. Working together might be a challenge for many husband/ wife teams, but the Giardinas, who have worked together for 20 years, complement each other in their day-to-day duties and they have an easy working relationship that carries over to their crews.
The Giardinas have been members of the FBA since TL Custom Homes began. Tony is a Past President and both of them have served on numerous FBA committees. Their favorite FBA event is the annual Parade of Homes. TL Custom Homes has received many awards in past Parades - FBA Builder of the Year, and several Best of Houzz awards dating from 2015-2019. They wake up every single day and LOVE what they do.
BRIDGEWATER INNOVATIVE BUILDERS HELIOS OIKOS – TALLY LAKE ROAD, WHITEFISH
Long Time FBA Builder, Mark Van Everen of Bridgewater Innovative Builders, specializes in green building and energy efficient designs and he loves building houses like this year’s entry in the Parade of Homes – the Helios Oikos, a Net Zero
Mark’s method for building is to take the necessary time during the design phase to establish both clear overall objectives for the project as well as to iron out important building assembly details. This planning phase not only includes generating specific scopes of work for the various trade contractors and costing estimates but also becoming clear on what energy-efficient features are to be included. They consider every available detail with energy efficiency in mind, including mechanical equipment selections, to insulation and air-sealing, to small details such as the use of LED bulbs and smart controls. The advantage of taking additional time during the planning phase is then rewarded with a far simpler and efficient building phase. Where appropriate, they consider adding solar systems like the one in this year’s parade of homes. Bridgewater Innovative Builders portfolio includes single, multi-family, and heirloom projects, all geared to energy efficiency and green homes. They have earned numerous awards and even participated in a market transformation program through the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. This program was designed to better understand the various ways to build in cold climates and lift the overall quality of residential construction in the northwest. They have also participated in the Department of Energy’s Energy Value Housing Awards program. This is a national program highlighting builders across the country who compete in different divisions based on their climate zones. Participating in these programs have added valuable insights into the daily design decisions of current projects. Mark and his wife, Heidi (principals in the business) work with Chris Jolly, who manages the financial systems including budgeting, job costing and payroll. They also work with a dedicated group of established subcontractors who have been in the Flathead Valley for many years and demonstrate consistent high proficiency in their individual trades.
This year’s Parade of Homes entry truly represents a 21st Century building. The modern and contemporary home features a variety of different materials including a unique steel-panel entryway, stucco, and a beautiful timber-frame deck and covered porch. The goal of this home was not only to reduce its carbon footprint by wisely choosing materials and building components but also to offset the annual energy used through an on-site solar system. The home has a variety of smart controls including two electric car charging stations. The home is located on Tally Lake Road in Whitefish. Mark is proud to be a member of the FBA and previously served on the Green Building Committee that brought related educational programs to the Flathead valley. His favorite aspect of the FBA is being a part of an organization that promotes professionalism in the industry and assisting in building better homes.
The FBA promotes home ownership, affordable housing, custom building, and commercial projects. With the FBA Builder Connect program, they also provide resources for those who are looking start a building or remodeling project in the Flathead valley. Members recently participated in the Norrish Memorial Golf Tournament, which raises scholarship funds for students pursuing an education in the building trades or building-related fields of study. The Home and Garden Show in the spring and the Parade of Homes in the fall, round out their yearly activities.
The FBA has just celebrated its 41st year promoting quality craftsmanship and professionalism in the building trades of the Flathead Valley. The focus of the FBA is to provide industry resources, information, and education to its members, and to further the ethical and professional standards of its members.
PARADE DATES Sept 13- 15, 2019
Friday: noon to 8 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. TICKETS: Presale Tickets are $12 available local ticket outlets and online, or $17 at the door. PROGRAMS: Watch for the 2019 “Parade of Homes” magazine coming out in the September 1st issue of the DAILY INTERLAKE, at any of the ticket outlets, and at each Parade Home check-in table. BOOTIE PRIZE: In an effort to reduce waste this year, the Parade of Homes is featuring a “Bootie Prize” drawing for attendees who keep their fabric shoe cover booties most of the weekend (unless they become too beat-up to wear) so plan to keep them handy as you tour the homes! GRAND PRIZE: Visit all ten homes and be eligible to win a $1000 shopping spree at any FBA Member
Visit www.buildingflathead.com for further information and an online guide to all of the 2019 Parade Homes.
A Full Deck
Margaret Russell on her bustling career with
Trex Decking Company By Shea Swenson
On Margaret Russell's days off, you can find her strolling through the budding flowers and plentiful plant life of Manito Park in Spokane, Washington, or maybe relaxing at her North Idaho lake home with her husband and children. On Margret's days on, her responsibilities as district manager West for Trex Decking, the world's largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking products, have her going at a thousand miles an hour. Trex, formed in 1996, was the first company to create an abundant array of composite deckbuilding products from durable, recycled plastics and beautiful reclaimed wood. The blend makes for an outdoor area that won't rot, splitter or crack in the way a traditional wood deck tends to, without sacrificing any of the charm. Now, Trex is the highest-selling deck company in the country, keeping Margaret very busy. We got the chance to speak with Margaret about Trex and her experience working in the decking industry.
How did you get your start with Trex?
"I have been with Trex for nine years and it has been fantastic. I was in the building industry prior, but I was looking for a more stable income when the economy wasn't so great. So I decided to apply for the job. I was really impressed with the opportunities available at the company. I have never regretted it. Trex has been a loyal partner and has supported me in my career goals."
Walk me through what a day at work is like for you.
"I currently have seven excellent sales associates that I coach in the field. We cover most of the Western United States, from Minneapolis and St
Louis to the West Coast and, of course, Montana. We work together every day bringing marketing and product information to our customers, or accounts, helping consumers, or deck-builders, who are looking at what decking to choose for their project."
You work in a male-dominated setting. How does that impact you?
"Being part of a male-dominated field has at times been very difficult. Sometimes, I think women in this industry have to know twice as much to be taken seriously. But once you earn people's trust, no matter what gender you are, the business relationship strengthens and sales success is mutual."
What is your absolute favorite thing about your job?
"For me, sales and management are always about the people. When you have an excellent product and a company who stands behind you and the customer, it makes the sales part easy. You can focus on relationships and the people who you meet every day. I get a huge amount of satisfaction helping people and making life-long connections. My job is never dull. There are always improvements being made with manufacturing changing for the better. I'm grateful to work for a supportive, progressive company that also knows how to have fun and work hard."
What are the biggest challenges? "Currently the biggest challenge of my job is geography! I wish I could clone myself so I could have more time in the field with the sales associates and customers."
What is one of your most memorable projects?
"I have been part of so many amazing projects. I think one from Montana that was my favorite is the TreeHouses on Whitefish Mountain. It is a unique rental property experience for guests, and the creativity is pretty special."
What's been your favorite aspect of working in the Montana market?
"Since working in Montana, I have seen huge growth in Trex's sales. That has been very rewarding. I love helping local business grow, earning the trust and confidence of customers and consumers, and helping everyone achieve their end goals."
If you weren't working with Trex, what would be your "back-up" career?
"I have always wanted to be a writer. I have had so many unique and funny circumstances in my everyday life and while traveling. I could write a book! Seeing a lighter side and not taking things to serious has always been part of my personality."
Poiema Flooring America Where Friends Send Friends It is not really all that surprising that the team at Poiema Flooring America doesn't focus on merely selling flooring. Ed & Patti Smith, along with everyone in their company, like to concentrate more on helping people love the spaces where they are going to live and work and they know that flooring plays a more significant part in this than most of us realize. They’ve been doing this long enough to know that flooring can set the tone of a room, that it can offer a feeling of warmth and comfort, OR it can add a vibrancy that energizes. Flooring can create a timeless, historical feel or make a room modern & trendy. Flooring can even make a small room appear larger; make it feel homey, or make it a showplace.
Whether for new construction or a remodel project, when it comes to flooring, homeowners and contractors are looking for designs
By Mary Wallace - Photos by Lindsay Goudreau that will endure, and durability that will stand the test of time. With so many choices, one might find it is time well-spent to tap into the expertise and guidance received from someone who does this type of thing regularly; someone who knows the potential pitfalls, as well as the newest trends to choose from. When a customer comes through the door of the recently remodeled Poiema Flooring America showroom, they are greeted by a friendly face and an opportunity to take advantage of the Poiema Flooring America ‘Simplicity of Shopping’ experience. With just a few simple questions such as - What rooms are being considered? What kind of daily use & traffic will the room have? Are there children or pets? Does anyone have allergies? What design/décor needs to be considered? And finally, what is the budget for the project? – the customer can be directed to the products that are most likely to fill their needs. Recent trends are mainly for hard-surfaced floors; however, new technology has resulted
in a series of flooring products called H20, with a proprietary technology that stops moisture from penetrating through to the surface below (even the H20 carpets!). These H20 products come in hardwood, vinyl planking, and carpet products; all made for real life. It is perfect for families with kids & pets and for rooms that typically subject to high moisture, such as kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Poiema Flooring America carries many products besides flooring. This allows for a unified design to everything related to the project from a family living style, to a farmhouse look, to a modern contemporary scheme, to a livable luxury design – all is cohesive from floor to walls to window treatments.
Some of the brands found at our local Poiema Flooring America are Cotto d'Este (who manufactures cladding and floor coverings of the highest quality in porcelain stoneware), backsplash treatments from Glazzio, and other wall & flooring treatments from Soho,
Poiema Flooring America carries many products besides flooring. This allows for a unified design to everything related to the project - from a family living style, to a farmhouse look, to a modern contemporary scheme, to a livable luxury design – all is cohesive from floor to walls to window treatments. Surface Art Tile, and Kerlite. Many of these products are not only beautiful; they are also anti-microbial.
Ed Smith, who has been in flooring since 1978, has a wealth of experience and information. Considering his years as both a salesman and an installer, he is well versed (along with the whole team at Poiema Flooring America) to help every customer get the look they want with flooring and other treatments that will not only match their lifestyle, but will also hold up for years to come.
Three years ago, when Jane Olson decided she wanted to focus more on her window treatment business (The Blind Lady), the Smiths decided to purchase the Poiema Flooring America portion of the business from her. They have quietly been transforming the 8500 square foot warehouse into a beautiful new showroom and design center for many months - and they are delighted that Jane decided to remain on site and
maintain the Blind Lady showroom within their showroom as well.
Poiema Flooring America now carries one of the largest selections of hardwood, tile, vinyl planking, and Karastan carpet in northwest Montana. Additionally, the Smiths are establishing a dedicated contractor’s center, where local builders can feel free to bring their customers at their convenience, to design and choose the flooring and wall products for each unique project. Poiema Flooring America is not a chain store – they are part of CCA Global, one of the largest buying cooperatives in the nation. This allows them to take advantage of group buying and, consequently, pass the savings on to their customer. Poiema Flooring America truly offers flooring and design options for every budget.
The Smiths have been married for 13 years, and they say they work so well together because each of their job descriptions doesn’t really overlap – it is more so that their individual jobs complement each other. The Smith’s fervently agreed that their friendly team of seven, along with their experienced independent installers, (all whom they consider as business partners) are a huge part of Poiema Flooring America’s success. The whole team at Poiema Flooring America, located on Center Street directly across from Kalispell Center Mall, is excited to welcome you to their beautiful new showroom that truly lends itself to the customer buying experience - offering flooring, blinds, wall treatments and SO much more. Pop in for a cup of coffee and a tour next time you happen to be near the Mall (even if you don’t have a current flooring project). You’ll be pleasantly surprised and find a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.
A Distinctive Difference Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry
By Mary Wallace Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography
Recent trends seem to be pointing to the fact that more people are enjoying cooking at home these days. More & more people are learning their way around their kitchens, and there may well be a bit of science behind the allure. According to www.mindfood.com, not only does the process of cooking and baking improve mood, it also creates a feeling of satisfaction upon seeing the end product. This naturally enhances happiness and provides a well-deserved sense of achievement from having created something tangible that can be enjoyed and shared. How many times do you attend a party and find that everyone has ended up gathering in the kitchen? The folks at Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry know better than most, that ‘sharing’ may be the key to this upsurge in the popularity of having fun with food. Building trends are following this as well. At Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry, their mission has always been to enhance the kitchen, office, bathroom and other living spaces with beauty, functionality, and durability, as well as create warm, welcoming places that everyone wants to be.
Randy & Wanda Hinzman got their start in the construction business in 1986. Randy was working for a local contractor and was selected for a project installing dining room, kitchen, and play areas for a Missoula fast food business. He & his crew did such a great job, that they were asked to do the same at other food restaurants across the state, and soon found themselves installing their magic at fast food restaurants all across the globe – primarily in Europe and Asia. They were off and running and Northwest Installations was born. It was fun and fascinating work, but it kept them all away from home for weeks at a time, and when the Hinzman’s children started becoming sad when Daddy had to work out of town yet again, Randy decided that it was time to find a way to work closer to home. He contacted his cabinet & countertop suppliers and began working with them on projects in western Montana. His first commercial project was at the University of Montana, and was followed by projects at KRMC, and then a series of local residential and commercial condo projects.
Now known as Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry, they have been helping people realize their home design dreams for over 30 years, offering a wide array of
natural products including premium granite, travertine, marble, and soapstone, as well as manufactured natural quartz surfaces such as Cambria, Silestone, Viatera, Corian Quartz, and CaesarStone.
Their 18,000 square foot showroom and state-of-the-art workshop is located south of Kalispell, Montana. From the minute a customer walks through the door, it is clear that the Hinzman's and their crew of designers, craftsmen, and stone artisans are ready to help them bring their project to life. Some customers bring highly detailed plans and photos and others come in with a sketch and some flooring and paint samples. The team at Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry can help create a customized plan that matches each client’s dreams, goals, and budget. A tour of the facility reveals the beauty of the all-natural stone countertop, sourced from Brazil and India, as well as the precision of the production facility that expertly cuts and matches the patterns of each design. The countertop slabs displayed in the indoor warehouse each have a history all their own. The natural stone
slabs start out as 78” x 128” solid blocks that are actually extracted from the mountains of Brazil and India, by a combination of drilling and blasting with dynamite. The blocks are then gang sawn with chains into the slabs and finally processed and polished and ready to ship stateside. Each slab weighs approximately 1,000 pounds! Randy and Wanda personally select each slab from their distributors in Spokane, Seattle, and Jacksonville, Florida.
With a combination of the indoor slab warehouse and their 100% digital design program, the team at Distinctive Countertops can show each customer how the design will look in their home before any of the work is done. Recent trends in countertops include the Montana look of natural stone with rustic chiseled edges, as well as the contemporary look of quartz. Black is making a comeback for countertops as well.
Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry employs seventeen people and numerous installation teams, which are all considered a valued part of the company’s success. Some recent and current projects include the countertops at Immanuel Lutheran Villas, the kitchenettes, bath-
rooms, and public spaces at the Marriott Townhouse Suites, and they are looking forward to working on the new Woodlands 55+ Active Living Community project.
The company enjoys being an integral part of the community in the Flathead Valley and when Peggy Christiansen came to them and said, “I don’t really have any money. But I need countertops and you have countertops,” they invested in her cause by doing tops for both the Ray of Hope and for Peggy’s House. They also did work for the Sparrows Nest (sharing in the costs and installation), and they often participate in fundraisers for District 5 and for St. Matthews. They try to choose a cause or project each year.
Husband & wife, Randy and Wanda have worked together for over 25 years. They say they have been able to make it work because Wanda works in the Sales department and Randy works in the production facility. As large as their operation is, Distinctive Countertops and Cabinetry is still a ‘mom & pop’ business and the crew is like family to them. They celebrate each completed project as they envision their clients living and sharing their newly updated space with friends and family. Together, they work hard to help each customer ‘imagine the distinctive touch in their home’.
“The more you know, the more you can create. There's no end to imagination in the kitchen”. (Julia Child)
Bianka Zundel The one-woman powerhouse behind Whitefish Productions By Shea Swenson Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography
Spectacular mountain ranges appearing from behind vibrant green tree lines, sparkling blue waters that reflect the sun from a cloudspeckled sky, gorgeous red barns filled with the smiling faces of people gathered to celebrate love. These are just a few of the scenes you will find in the contents of Montana native Bianka Zundel’s portfolio. Bianka is the 21-year-old videographer, certified drone pilot and entrepreneur behind Whitefish Productions, a video production company she started and runs entirely solo.
Through Whitefish Productions, Bianka takes on a multitude of projects, including action, commercial and real estate videos, paired with an emphasis wedding videography. With an incredibly organized nature, friendly, warm disposition and an evident knack for troubleshooting, Bianka has an impossible-to-ignore talent for what she does.
Her passion for videography started four years ago when she began making family videos with a Go-Pro her parents gave her as a gift. Bianka was drawn to the ways a video can capture special moments in a unique, beautiful way.
“Videos bring such a different emotion,” she says. “I want people to feel what that day was like. That’s what I want to capture.”
After much self-training and research, Bianka decided to turn her passion for videos into a career. She wanted a profession that allowed flexibility for her to live her life on her own time. With her self-determined character, she was confident in her ability to be successful and disciplined on her own. When Bianka set her sights on videography, she searched for other local production companies, and in doing so, found a mentor in Paul Neff from Whitecliff Productions. Through her apprenticeship with Paul, she learned how to capture the intimate moments of a wedding but also the fastpaced shots of an action video and the detailed nature of a promotional video. While she always had a particular interest in weddings, she says Paul guided her through learning a broad range of skills. “When Paul took me in, I think he saw my potential,” she says. “He was really fun to work with. I will always be grateful for his time and the lessons he taught me.”
After about a year of working under Paul, Bianka was ready to branch out. “I wanted to venture off on my own and see what I could do,” she says. So in 2018, she started Whitefish Productions.
In addition to a quickly-found entrepreneurial nature she acquired from her parents, Bianka brought another distinctive aspect to her production company– her drone. The year Bianka started the business, she also became a certified drone pilot, a title that is rare in the Flathead Valley, particularly for women. “There is not a lot of female drone pilots out there,” says Bianka. “That’s a reason I wanted to do it.”
Her drone, a DJI Phantom 4, allows her to add stunning aerial footage to her otherwise on-theground video collection. Bianka says another female drone pilot, Danielle DeLeon of local production company Bird’s Eye
Big Sky, helped her learn key techniques about drones and how to use her skills in the growing industry.
She has also learned about drone flying through trial and error. “I’ve gone through a couple of drones,” Bianka says when detailing her first experiences. “But we are getting there.”
Pushing through the learning curve of new adventures is seemingly not something that weighs too heavily on Bianka’s mind. It is with a light-hearted tone that she calmly describes her experience crashing a drone into Whitefish lake. “I jumped in fully clothed to get it,” she says with a shoulder shrug.
Bianka endured a few hiccups her first year running Whitefish Productions. From rain on wedding days to water-logged drones, she has solved every problem that has come her way. “I endured the process of a startup business,” she says. “I am continuing to achieve my goal, both in business and in life.”
So far, a good portion of the work Whitefish Productions has done is weddings. Just as every wedding is different, every wedding video is as well. Bianka understands that, so she put together her own consultation packet, so that each wedding package is customizable and can meet the needs of each individual client.
When it comes to wedding videography, Bianka knows that the comfort of her subjects is critical. She places a great deal of importance on the relationships she makes with the bride and groom. “I want them to be as comfortable as possible,” she says. And the effort Bianka puts in to create that comfortable environment is working.
One of Bianka’s most glowing online reviews proves just that, saying, “She was incredibly professional, prompt and easy to work with. She will become one of your best friends by the end of it all.” That relationship building, along with filming quiet shots of a wedding venue before guests arrive, means Bianka gets to a wedding early and spends an average of 10-12 hours at each special event she films.
With days that long, she typically ends up with over eight hours of film. In post-production, or the editing process, Bianka picks the most stunning, eye-catching and often tear-jerking moments and compiles them into a cinematic recap of the day. A process she does just like most others in Whitefish Productions; entirely on her own. “Filming, editing, the whole thing. It’s just me.” That is not likely to change any time soon.
Creating the perfect video for a client is on Bianka’s mind from the minute she books a job to the moment she sends the final product. After building her business, website and videos all from scratch, she doesn’t see a time soon that she will find someone else to “see the same shot,” the way she would.
“I would have such a hard time trusting someone to do what I do the way I do it,” she says. “And to hold that reputation that I have made for myself.”
As for the hardest part of owning a video production company, Bianka says that slow winters are the most trying. However, Bianka makes the most of it by filming all of the activities that winters in the valley have to offer. All in all, Bianka makes running a one-womanshow look like a breeze.
If she were to give other young people looking to venture out on their own into the world of business or videography any advice, it’d be this: “Create your own style. Be passionate about what you do. You have to love it and if you don’t love it, people can tell,” she says. To Bianka, taking pride in what you create is hugely important, as well as always staying open to new opportunities. “You never know what you are capable of until you believe in yourself.”
Whitefish Productions 704C 13th St E #624, Whitefish, MT 59937 (406) 260-7990 whitefishproductions.com
I Want Her Job
Voice of Star Wars’ Ahsoka Tano + Founder of Her Universe By Brianne Perleberg This article originally appeared on IWantHerJob.com.
Ashley Eckstein is a force, which isn’t surprising considering she’s a strong believer in The Force Star Wars brought to life. As the voice of Star Wars’ Ashsoka Tano, Ashley brings to life a strong character who always wants to do the right thing. And in real life, she isn’t much different from that character. She strives to empower young girls and women everywhere through Her Universe, an online community where female fangirls can be themselves and also find merchandise featuring their favorite Lucas Film, Disney characters and more. And like the Disney characters she loves, Ashely had to persist to make her dream come true. Why? The industry simply wasn’t welcoming to creating sci-fi and fantasy focused clothing exclusively for a female fan base. But like any heroine, Ashley found a way to turn a negative into a positive. Because other major companies didn’t want licenses for merchandise this space or didn’t use the ones they had, she was able to prove a fan base and a market without any competition. Of course, a few years later when Her Universe began proving sales, other companies began to pay attention. It has grown so much in size that it’s now a subsidiary of Hot Topic.
“I am grateful for the fact that we were able to prove ourselves in a wide-open space,” she says. “I wanted to create merchandise made for women that maybe would help them feel comfortable enough to step into the spotlight and say, ‘Hi. I’m a girl, and I like Star Wars.’ I founded a company on a hunch and hoped people would back me up.”
In addition to her role with Her Universe and as the voice of Ahsoka Tano, she’s also added author to her list of accomplishments. Last summer she oman.com
released It’s Your Universe, an interactive book that guides its reader on making their dreams happen. “My book is my ode to Disney and Star Wars,” Ashley says. “The world of Disney is so huge. I write about Disney characters and Disney movies that resonated with me personally, what they mean to me and the lessons that they’ve taught me.”
What was your very first job ever, and what is something you learned from it?
My first job was for Walt Disney World. It was my dream to be a Walt Disney World cast member. My dad was a cast member, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I desperately wanted to be an entertainer at Disney and dance in the Main Street Electrical Light Parade. As fate would have it, they were having auditions on my 16th birthday. At the time, you only had to be 16
to work for Disney, so I went and tried out, and I was actually hired on my birthday!
Although I was hired, what I quickly realized at Disney, is that you didn’t get to pick your job. They pick it for you. It was definitely a lesson in “you don’t always get what you want,” and a lesson in never giving up. I was hired to be a cast member at Disney, but I did not get the job I wanted right away. I did not become a dancer in a parade. And a year later when I became a dancer it wasn’t even in the Electrical Light Parade. It was the Hercules Parade they had at the time. It was an amazing lesson. At the time it was very frustrating, but I look back now, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Once you had the idea to launch Her Universe, what steps did you take to turn it into reality? When I had the idea to start Her Universe, there were two major obstacles. The first was that I knew nothing about starting a business or
business} making merchandise. I was a full-time actress, and I grew up loving fashion design and would definitely call it a hobby, but I didn’t go to school for it. And I certainly didn’t know the first thing about making merchandise or starting a company. I had to educate myself from scratch on how to start my own company, how to apply for a trademark, how to apply for a license from Lucas Film, how to make merchandise and all of these things. My first step was to build my team. My husband was fully supportive of my endeavor, and the advice he gave me was, “Look, I support you, but make sure you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.” And he was not implying I wasn’t smart. He was just saying to make sure to seek out experts in each field and build my team, and then I’d be able to do it. So, that’s what I did! I found myself a great lawyer who could help me start my company and help me do my trademark and secure my LLC. Then I found an amazing licensing expert who helped me put together a pitch for Lucas Film and helped me do that licensing contract.
The second major obstacle is that there was no roadmap for what I was trying to do with Her Universe. Usually, in business, they say to find a similar company and model your business after their business model to create a roadmap. In women’s merchandise in the sci-fi and fantasy world, it just didn’t exist at all. And in fact, I was told that it wouldn’t exist. It wasn’t possible to be successful. Women and girls wouldn’t buy merchandise made for them. I had no research to back up my claim, other than the fact that I knew I wasn’t alone, and that half of all sci-fi and fantasy fans were women and girls. Then, 85% of all consumer purchases at the time were being made by women. I only had those statistics, and I literally based my entire company off of those two statistics.
Anytime someone starts something new, there are bound to be frustrations and curveballs. How did you tackle these when you were launching Her Universe?
I write in the book about how the road to making your dreams come true is a roller coaster, and there are constant up’s and downs. No matter what your dream is, be prepared for the ride because you’re going to go on a roller coaster. You’re going to have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I say to expect challenges and accept challenges. It’s hard. It was constantly filled with challenges, and truthfully, filled with people always wanting to give up on me everywhere I turned. Even years
into the business people would say, “It’s been very successful,” but still I was fighting problems behind the scenes with people wanting to give up and who doubted what we were doing. It’s a constant battle, and you have to be prepared to always fight for what you want.
My book is full of Disney and Star Wars quotes for inspiration. One I reference in the book is a scene from Star Wars where Yoda is lifting the X-Wing
rapidly growing, and it was growing faster than what I could really keep up with. I was losing opportunities for our community because I couldn’t take advantage of them, and I couldn’t keep up with them. I don’t have any kids, and so I joke that Her Universe is really my child, and so I say that it was time for Her Universe to go off to college.
I’ve always said that Her Universe is not my universe, it’s our universe. It’s a community for everyone, and I felt like I was doing a disservice to our community by not taking this opportunity. There was an opportunity to expand to worldwide distribution and offer up more of our designs in plus sizes … there were all of these opportunities where I knew we had the fan base and the consumer, but I didn’t have the infrastructure to grow the company to provide and offer more. By joining forces with Hot Topic, and by coming a brand under their umbrella of brands opened up so many doors that I am incredibly grateful for.
What inspired you to write It’s Your Universe?
The opportunity to write the book came from a discussion with Disney publishing. We met after I had the opportunity to narrate the audiobook for Ahsoka, which is a young adult fiction book about my character Ahsoka Tano. I didn’t write that book. An amazing author named E.K. Johnston wrote that book, but I had the chance to go on a book tour with her and promote it. We had a great time.
out of the swamp of Dagobah, and Luke says to Yoda, “I don’t believe it.” And Yoda says, “Then that’s why you fail.” I always keep that in mind. It’s like the second that doubt creeps in, and you allow doubt to overcome your belief, that is when you’re going to fail. You always have a stronger belief than you do doubt. I think it’s unrealistic to say you’re never going to have doubt. But you have to make sure your belief cup is always fuller than your doubt cup.
What was it like when you found out the brand you built would be featured and sold in Hot Topic? That moment was a dream come true. I have to say I never had any plans of selling Her Universe. That wasn’t my goal. I was in shock at first that I had this chance to join a bigger company. I had been working with Hot Topic for several years, and in many ways, Her Universe is not what it is today without Hot Topic. At the time Her Universe was
So, in follow up after that book tour, I was meeting with Disney publishing to say, “Hey, we had a great time, and there’s more that we could be doing with this fangirl audience.” We had a brainstorm of what more we could do together, and I remember them asking, “Would you consider writing your story?” They asked if I would write an autobiography or a memoir, and I said, “Well, I don’t really feel that I’ve achieved enough or done enough to warrant a memoir, but if you would let me, the book that I would write is more of an advice book on how to make your dreams come true. The truth is, I’m not talking to anyone today without the inspiration from Disney and Star Wars influencing me to make my dreams come true. So, I would write kind of an autobiography, and I would tell my story if you let me write it in the form of, ‘Here’s what I did, and here’s how you can do it too.’”
Thankfully they said yes! The book is very much a roadmap to making your dreams come true. It’s interactive, and there are journal entries in it where I encourage the reader to write down their thoughts and their dreams. There are also all sorts of lists and quotes. The book is my story mixed with several of the Disney characters, their stories and the lessons that they teach us, mixed with a how-to on how to make your dreams come true.
What is something you know now about starting a business that you wish you would have known when you started? [She laughs.] So much! I actually say in the book that I have chronic naïveté, and I say that in a positive way. Especially as women, we’re often told we’re naïve. I think sometimes it’s meant as a negative, not as a positive. Being naïve actually helped me because I look at the end goal, and I say, “Why not? Why can’t we achieve that? Why can’t we have that? Let’s go for it!” I don’t see all of the steps in between on everything that it’s going to take to get there. Oftentimes it’s those steps in between that can be very intimidating and cause a lot of doubt, a lot of fear and cause you to give up or say no. Instead, I just go to the very end of an idea, and I say, “Why not?” Had I known everything it was going to take to achieve Her Universe, start my own business and bring female fashion to the market, who knows what would have happened? I might have said, “Oh wow. That’s a lot of work. I don’t know if I can do it.” I just saw that someone needed to do this for female fans … I thought, “You know what? If anyone has a shot to do it, I do. I have my foot in the door. I’m the voice of Ahsoka Tano for Star Wars.”
Ahsoka Tano is such a strong character. She’s a hero through and through, and she wants to do what’s right at every turn. She inspires me. I want to be a real-life version of her, so I just asked myself, “What would Ahsoka do?” Ahsoka would stand up for female fans and that’s what I kept my eye on. I kept my eye on the fact that I kind of wanted to be a real-life Jedi. [She laughs.] That’s what I did, and I didn’t worry about all the steps that I had to take to get there.
Brianne B. Perleberg
Brianne B. Perleberg, a born-and-raised Montanan, is the founder of I Want Her Job, an award-winning website featuring curated career conversations with women changing the future of business. She also is a marketing director at NASCAR track Phoenix Raceway. You can follow her on Twitter @iwantherjob and read more interviews like this on iwantherjob.com.
Your Business By Callie Reagan
I started AnotherHand LLC a year ago when I decided to turn people’s questions and requests into a business. I became a Virtual Assistant, meaning that I am a contract or freelance entrepreneur that performs work duties for individuals and companies from a remote location. Or better said, all that work that you have hanging over your head, I help you get that done. My diverse background in health, nonprofit, sales and customer service has given me a toolbox of resources and skills to help businesses grow and get work completed. Tasks from data entry to event planning to graphic design are all things that I love to do, but I have found that others don’t share my love. I guess my job is to help you get to the tasks that you really like to do and focus on what you do best. Social Media is one of the topics I received the most questions. Which honestly, I think that we overthink and make more difficult than it needs to be. Social Media comes down to these four things: have a plan, be consistent, be relevant and engage with your audience. Here are some of the top questions I receive.
What is the point of using it?
Why turn down free advertising? This is a no-cost way of increasing awareness about what you do and what makes you unique. Social Media is an easy way to drive people to your webpage, create relationships, and help with client retention. The other really important thing that social media does, is it lets you know what your competition is doing.
What is the 80%? That’s for you to share other’s information. Find relevant articles, posts, images from other specialists in your field that can be shared, reposted, or retweeted. These need to be relevant to the audience you are trying to engage.
What is a Social Media Plan?
You have heard of a Business Plan and a Marketing Plan. Within both of these, there should be a Social Media Plan. This plan should include your audience, the platforms you intend to use and why. The other helpful thing to have in your Social Media Plan is a calendar of dates and post ideas. Be creative. Here is an example of something you could do. Grab an empty calendar and look at the formal and informal holidays. Start planning around those and then look at things like National Donut Day. There is a National Day for almost everything, so find things that pertain to you and your business. Calendar them. This way, when you are going through your year, you already have ideas of what you are going to post.
What platform do I use?
The simple answer, is there are four main ones that as a business you should consider. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The harder answer depends on the audience that you want to attract. There are so many different platforms out there, so a little research on who uses them and what they do is needed. An example of this is if you are looking for a younger teenage audience you are not going to want to focus time and energy into LinkedIn. For teenagers and a younger audience, look at something like Snapchat. Baby boomers- look at using Facebook. The point is, you need to know who your audience is and who you are trying to attract.
What do I post?
You are going to want to plan for an 80/20 split. 20% is coming from you. This is all you, your personality and your message that you create. For Facebook and Instagram, you are going to want to think of your posts like a print media ad. Make it visual and make it engaging. Twitter you want to make it a conversation piece, short updates to start that engagement. LinkedIn is for the professional; share awards and news for your business.
How do I stand out?
Reply to people, engage them. This is the whole reason for social media! You are there to create a relationship and the only way you can do that is to be present. The other main way to stand out is to have relevant content. You are not going to have engagement if people are not interested in what you are posting.
What if I don’t have time for it?
Make time, its free advertising! What I do is take one day of the week and set aside one hour to schedule my posts. Yes, I said schedule them. You can use a program like Hootsuite to schedule posts to automatically come out for any period of time. This way, you are able to get everything posted at one time and the rest of the week you are just looking at the comments and engaging with people.
What other tips do you have?
Be consistent and be patient. If you just started using Facebook or Instagram as a business, you need to give it a little bit of time to see some results. You are not going to have 1.4 million followers in a day. Engage with people and show them who you are and be genuine about it. Also, if you are looking for people to notice you and follow you, look back at their posts and find one that is about 30 days old and comment on it. That will get you noticed. Ask open-ended questions that require a response and when there is a response reward that response with engaging conversation or a thank you. Social Media is about what makes you special and unique as a person and as a business. Let people know who you are and what makes your business different from the rest.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare opens
Montana’s first-of-its-kind Pediatric Facility By Dustin R. Jones
Coleman Lee, 7, a patient of Kalispell Regional Healthcare, drives around the lobby of the Montana Children’s Medical Center during a July 1 parade ushering patients into the new facility. Photo from Flathead Beacon, used with permission.
Amy Lee, 47, of Kalispell, is a mom on a mission. She knows all too well the daily challenges of caring for a chronically ill child, and the extent that parents will go to get medical care for their child. Over the years, the mother of four has traveled to hospitals in other states like Washington and even Ohio to seek highly specialized medical care for her seven-year old son, who suffers from a rare gastrointestinal condition, one that was difficult to diagnose. “As a mom, you do it because you will do anything to help your child,” she says. “But uprooting your family and leaving your home and community to travel to another state for medical care just stacks up the stress and financial challenges. My husband Travis and our other children know this all too well.” Currently, Lee works as a “parent partner” who helps Kalispell and western Montana parents access local medical care for their child. She advocates for the child and their family and uses her skills, knowledge and hard-earned experience caring for her own son to now help others. She said her life changed dramatically when Kalispell Regional Medical Center began recruiting pediatric specialist physicians to the hospital
over the last several years, allowing her to access some of the best care in the nation close to home. “You travel to other states thinking you are going to see the best of the best pediatric doctors,” she adds. “Then eventually you realize that there is very highquality pediatric care in your own hometown. It’s a life changer for your family. Our local doctors could be working in those big famous hospitals, yet they chose to work and live here … and thank goodness for that.” Lee says accessing medical care locally has created a new extended family, one that she has significantly improved the wellbeing of her family. “The surgeons and physicians, nurses and other caregivers are your friends and neighbors,” she says. “There’s comfort there.” Lee said she’s even more excited that a new children’s medical center has opened in Kalispell. “It’s going to change people’s lives for the better in so many ways,” she noted. She was referring to the fact that Kalispell Regional Healthcare, one of the largest and fastest-growing health systems in Western Montana, has announced that its Montana Children’s, the first children’s pediatric facility of its kind to open in Montana, is now treating
patients in its new $60-million, three-story, 190,000 square-foot facility. The facility opened on July 1. Montana Children’s brings together all the high-level pediatric specialists, some not found anywhere else in the state, to serve patients in an advanced facility designed especially for children and their families. More than 100 pediatric/family medicine primary care providers and more than 40 pediatric subspecialties, including neonatology, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, oncology and hematology, neurology, critical care, neurosurgery, surgery, radiology, psychiatry, sleep medicine, dentistry, among others, are members of the pediatric medical staff. The new facility’s first floor opened in July and the second and third floors will open in later phases in the coming years. The first phase includes a 12bed pediatric unit, a 6-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and a 12-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). All rooms are designed for maximum privacy with a home-like comfort and large enough to accommodate overnight family members who want to be with their children. The NICU has dedicated sleeping rooms for parents who want to be close to their babies but need rest away from the sounds of medical monitors. Both the PICU and NICU each have a dedicated family room equipped with a seating
The pediatric specialists at Montana Children’s pose for a photo just prior to the facility opening.
Our local doctors could be working in those big famous hospitals, yet they chose to work and live here … and thank goodness for that.” area, TV, full kitchen, washer, dryer and showers to provide families with the comforts of home. Set on the campus of Kalispell Regional Medical Center in Kalispell, Montana, the new children’s facility will eventually house many pediatric physicians, including the largest team of pediatric subspecialists in the state of Montana. KRH began construction of Montana Children’s in 2015 with the addition of pediatric subspecialists to the medical staff. As part of the build-out of the pediatric program, KRH began the recruitment of more pediatric specialists and subspecialists to join the medical staff of KRH, with the goal of assembling the largest pediatric medical staff in the state. The new Montana Children’s serves as the anchor facility of KRH’s burgeoning pediatric program.
“Before the pediatric program started at KRH in 2015, thousands of children were forced to leave the state annually to seek pediatric specialty medical care,” says Dr. Federico G. Seifarth, a pediatric surgeon who is medical director of Montana Children’s. “Our new hospital will serve families across Montana. By providing care to patients close to home we aim to make children and families more comfortable and allow access to pediatric specialized care to everybody.” Kalispell Regional Healthcare reported more than 25,000 total pediatric specialist visits over 2017 and 2018, and a 47 percent increase in new patient visits across its facilities, including Kalispell Regional
Montana Children’s at Kalispell Regional Healthcare.
Medical Center and its outreach clinics. The outreach clinics in Polson, Missoula, Anaconda, Bozeman, Helena and Great Falls reported a 45 percent increase in total visits, while Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s NICU and PICU reported a 13 percent increase this year alone. With an increased number of pediatric, PICU and NICU beds in the new facility, the program has more capacity to serve the region’s children. In addition to the expanded inpatient units, the new facility also has a dedicated child-life space with an adjacent outdoor playground. Child life specialists are trained in the emotional and developmental needs of children and can help kids and their families understand medical issues while providing psychological and emotional support. All child life specialists hold advanced-degree training in the growth and development of children and help families and patients cope effectively with hospitalization. They provide age-appropriate therapeutic medical play (at the bedside as well as in the playroom setting), psychological preparation for surgery and admissions, preparation for school re-entry and more. By working with the whole family, not just the patient, they help ensure parents, siblings and patients all have an understanding of the plan of care. Design plans for the interior spaces of the second and third floors will be completed in later phases while looking forward to future needs. Philanthropy will be a significant component to building out the two additional floors of the facility through private donations.
The facility’s design, both externally and internally, reflects a Glacier theme, featuring interpretive design elements reminiscent of western Montana’s landscapes, flora and fauna. Natural light and high walls adorned with locally made white tile trickle down into a blue hue, giving the look and feel of water. Artificial fish, created by local glass artist, hang from the ceiling and a floor pattern resembling water will showcase fish swimming in an interactive hologram. “The Montana landscape reflects unmatched beauty no matter the seasons,” says Morris ‘Mo’ Stein, principal architect of the facility for HKS. “We wanted to create a vision that would allow people to think about all that Montana represents to the visual eye when then look at it and go inside.” Stein adds that his goal was to create a safe space for children and their families, one that doesn’t look typical of Montana’s traditional wood, log and green roof architecture. “We wanted to create a space that was not about just sickness, but one that expressed health and wellness that brought people together in a safe space,” Stein shares. “The light comes in from Montana’s famous ‘Big Sky’ and showers it with natural colors.”
Stein adds that unlike adult hospitals, kids and their families have very different needs and conditions. “They may have families or guests who stay with them for some time. We wanted to ensure that they would feel like they are close to home as possible,” says Stein.
Lee concurs: “It is a godsend to get great medical care for your child in our hometown.”
“My mom just got on a train and left,” whispered Kayla. “It wasn’t like she was around a lot, I really couldn’t ever depend on her, but then, she was just gone. I couldn’t believe she really left us.”
Changed lives Kayla Oyler’s Story By Mary Wallace
“I’ve learned I can depend on people.”
Kayla was only six years old when her mother, who struggled with multiple addictions, left her and her three brothers. Even though she was very young, Kayla had always been the “protector/nurturer” for her younger siblings. At least she was going to be someone that they could depend on. However, the state placed Kayla with her grandparents who weren’t prepared to care for four young children. Then, her grandparents made the devastating choice to put Kayla in foster care. She was abandoned once again, and what made it even worse was that she had promised her brothers she would always be there for them. It felt like everything was lost. "It was really hard to be sent away from family. I didn't know why. I never thought I would be able to trust or depend on anyone again, but then a few key people came into my life.” After several foster placements and a group home, Kayla was struggling in many areas. School was very difficult as it was hard to focus.
With being moved so many times, it became more about surviving than thriving, especially in the group home. But one caring adult spoke up for Kayla and her life began to change. Kayla’s CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) reached out to Child Bridge. She saw the “gold” in Kayla that was hidden by trauma and abandonment and asked if they knew of any families that might be a better fit for her. When Hank and Beth Oyler received the call from Child Bridge about Kayla, an excitement went through both of them. Was this the child that God has been preparing them for? The Oyler’s were introduced to foster care several years prior. They lived in Alaska and their two biological children had nearly graduated. Beth was a special needs aide and was approached by the school for a child in brief need of temporary care. The Oyler’s explored getting licensed, but as it turned out, never received that child into their home. Now, living in the Flathead Valley, they heard the foster care call again when Child Bridge presented the need at their church. At Easthaven Baptist, they found themselves surrounded by foster families in their place
"It was really hard to be sent away from family. I didn't know why. I never thought I would be able to trust or depend on anyone again, but then a few key people came into my life.” of worship. Nearly thirty-five children had been adopted out of foster care in this community and the Oyler’s hearts were stirred once again to impact children’s lives with a loving home. “We dipped our toe in the water and began conversations and attending classes with Child Bridge, a nonprofit that recruits and equips foster families for Montana kids in need,” said Beth. “We did respite care, received our licensing and were asked to take on several high-needs children - but as we prayed about it, we just didn’t receive the peace that we needed. Now, I know, it was because we were to open our home to Kayla and somehow, we knew it with that first phone call!” Sitting in her forever home with the Oylers, Kayla, Beth and Hank recall that first year together. “It
was tough,” sighed Beth. “She is not a difficult kid, but all of the abandonment had made her an angry girl. We were committed to the process of healing because we knew that there was a tender heart inside, but it was a challenge.” “My school years were tough as well,” recalled Hank. “If an adult would have been there to help me through, it would have made all the difference. I wasn’t going to miss the chance to offer that support to Kayla, no matter how hard it was. But she was resilient, Kayla overcame…I’m so proud of her!” "The Oyler’s loving me and taking me in changed my life. I don't know where I would be without them," Kayla said with a tear in her eye. “Everything changed for me because of them! I learned that I could depend on people. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't even know how to have meaningful conversations. It was hard for me to understand things, but because of them, I even like school now! Every day, they tell me that I’m smart. I’ve continued playing basketball and volleyball…and I love art. I'm a 3.6 GPA and I’m looking forward to college!" Kayla has hopes and dreams for the future because she had people willing to open up their hearts and lives to her. Her favorite verse from the Bible is: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
She especially wants families to consider taking in a young teenager so they can also experience the healing a family can bring! “There are so many teenagers out there without a home that just need love and one or two people they can depend on. People can hurt people, or they can change the lives of people for the better. I pray all the time that loving people would open their homes to teens in foster care.” Hank and Beth are the kind of people who are quick to give others the credit. “Kayla’s life has been transformed and it's because there were people that cared enough to try to find her a home,” Beth says, referring to her CASA and Child Bridge. “She is just the happiest kid. Incredibly affectionate and everyone's biggest cheerleader. She’s still a teenage girl with her ups and downs, but she's definitely blessed our lives beyond measure.” In their humility, it’s the Oyler’s who blessed a struggling young girl who had nowhere to turn. They answered the call to care for a child in need and from that one phone call, they never looked back. Would you consider being a family that a foster child an depend on, or supporting organizations that make these transformations possible? Contact us at: www.childbridgemontana.org or 406-2-FOSTER. You can change a life!
North Valley Hospital Welcomes New
North Valley Hospital Emergency Department Physicians, from left to right: Darren Brockie, MD; Mark Stevens, MD; Michelle Stone, DO; Colin Brockett, DO; Dallas Koperski, MD; Ashleigh Magill, MD; Jeff Westensee, MD.
Emergency Department Physicians
By Allison Linville
North Valley Hospital (NVH) is pleased to welcome three new physicians to the emergency department. These physicians bring an extensive combination of skills and experience to the team, which now totals seven physicians. All emergency medicine physicians at NVH have completed an emergency medicine residency and are board certified in emergency medicine, emphasizing the department’s focus on expert emergency care. In addition, the North Valley Hospital emergency department nurses are all trauma certified. For patients, this means that the care provided by the NVH emergency department staff is extremely specialized to treat emergent medical issues by combining the best technology, most advanced skills, and safest practices. The three new physicians in the emergency department are Michelle Stone, DO, Mark Stevens, MD, and Colin Brockett, DO. The new physicians join Ashleigh Magill, MD and medical director of the emergency department; Jeff Westensee, MD; Dallas Koperski, MD; and Darren Brockie, MD at the North Valley Hospital emergency department. Below are brief biographies to introduce the new physicians to the community.
Michelle Stone, DO completed her undergraduate education at Colby College in Maine, followed by medical school at the University of New England and an emergency medicine residency at the Albany Medical Center in Albany, NY. Shortly after, she moved to Colorado to work at a hospital first in Durango and later in Vail. Dr. Stone has six years of experience in emergency medicine, with extensive training in wilderness and sports medicine, and even worked as a ski instructor in Colorado prior to attending medical school. Her love of the mountains brought her to Whitefish, where she’s also the medical director for the ski and bike patrol at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Mark Stevens, MD comes to
North Valley Hospital most recently from the Lone Peak Hospital in Draper, Utah, where he served as the emergency department medical director for three years. He also spent time supporting the emergency medicine team at St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, not far from where he attended medical school at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Stevens previously worked at UCLA’s Kern Medical Center during his residency before returning to Utah. He and his family are active in the outdoors and enjoy taking part in the abundant recreational opportunities in the Flathead Valley.
Colin Brockett, DO completed his emergency medicine residency at the Marietta Memorial Hospital in Marietta, Ohio, while also working as a staff physician at the Sistersville General Hospital in Sistersville, West Virginia. Dr. Brockett also completed his education in the area, as he attended Kent State University in Kent, Ohio for undergraduate school, followed by the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio for medical school.
In addition, Dr. Brockett has completed a family medicine internship in Charleston, West Virginia. He is happy to join the team at North Valley Hospital, where he can combine his passion for the outdoors with his professional career. A professional team of board-certified emergency medicine physicians is a tremendous asset to the community, and a standard that North Valley Hospital is proud to uphold for emergency care. While no one wants to make a visit to the emergency room, you can trust that your family will receive high-quality care when needed.
The Benefits of Teaching By Jenna R. Huff, MD
"We have a medical student with us today. Is it okay if they participate in your care?" It's the question that many people really don't want to hear, especially at the OB/GYN office. Making an appointment with an OB/GYN is never really the highlight of someone's day. There could be sensitive topics that need to be discussed, nerves about the actual exam, and overall dread at what another year means to our overall health. Add to that an extra person there, listening and examining everything that's going on in the room, and the anxiety might increase to the point where this appointment seems overwhelming. Why in the world would we even ask about students?!?
The real reason doctors teach is different for all of us. For many, the reason we teach has to do with the obligation we feel to teach the future doctors the same way we were taught. Had we not had dedicated doctor teachers, we wouldn't be where we are today, being able to take care of you the best way possible. The word doctor comes from the Latin word docere, meaning, â€œto teach." We were all once student doctors, naive to the ways of the doctor/patient relationship but anxious to learn everything we could so that we could one day join and then take over for those who taught us. We all have different stories of the many mentors in our medical education. In emergency situations, I can still hear Dr. Davis in my head as I rush to do the right thing. In surgery, I can still hear Dr. Karlen say, "tight, tight, tight" with every knot I tie. In addition to the good mentors in our career, we all have the ones who were not the best, from whom we strive to be better than for the rest of our career. Also, we commit to making sure our students never become like them. We have to opportunity to shape the medical community for years to come.
not. We are constantly trying to defend our actions and giving reasons and explanations for everything that we do. In teaching our medical students, we also become better teachers to our patients. Medicine is ever-changing and it's imperative that we continue to grow and learn in order to take the best care of our patients.
Teaching medical students is not a glamorous job. It takes extra time, extra patience, and dedication to the profession. Medical students keep us on our toes as you can always count on them to ask why you do things one way or another, or why you don't do things the way they learned in class. They are always probing, questioning, and learning, and in turn, keep us honest with our medical practice. It has been shown that doctors who teach are more up to date and knowledgeable with cutting edge practices than those who do
So while that question of having a medical student might not be the most exciting thing to hear in a day, there is a multitude of reasons behind it. Know that as with every part of your care with Kalispell OB/GYN, you have the choice to help with our student's medical education or to proceed with your appointment without any extra participants. We continue to respect the privacy and preferences of each patient while still working to continue to advance the profession of medicine for future generations.
At Kalispell OB/GYN, we are committed to medical education. We have four medical students per year from the University of Washington School of Medicine that each rotates with us during their third year 6 week OB/GYN rotation. For many of them, this is the only experience they will get delivering babies and helping with prenatal care for their whole medical career. Our hope is that in the future if they are the only one on a plane when someone delivers their baby unexpectedly, we can get them to provide adequate care. We also hope to inspire the best and brightest to join the wonderful profession of OB/GYN, to commit to the care of the amazing women we have the privilege to take care of.
NEVER MEET YOUR HEROES There is an old adage that states, “Never meet your heroes.” This statement assumes that our heroes will not live up to the character we have created for them in our imaginations. Therefore, leaving us disappointed with reality. I imagine most of us have had the opportunity in our lives to meet a hero or two, and hopefully, it went better than it did for the person who coined the phrase. It’s easy to have heroes in this, the information age, the instant gratification age, the influencer age. We live in a time where young and old can make a living just for being cool on the internet. Young children and teenagers undoubtedly each have their YouTube heroes that they love. The ladies follow their blogs and Instagram gurus, whether it be for style, parenting, fitness & nutrition, homemaking, etc. The fellas will do the same with perhaps some professional athletes thrown in the mix. We
by Dr. John F. Miller DDS - SMILE MONTANA consume carefully curated snapshots that are being presented to us as “reality.”
full reality and still be in love. As I still am with Montana, even more so today.
A hero does not necessarily have to be an individual. A big hero of mine throughout my early life into adulthood was Northwest Montana, and I consumed it much like we do today, in small idyllic doses. In other words, I spent a couple of weeks here every summer for 20 years in a row without fail. Do any of you see the problem there, leaving Arizona only in the summer to come to Northwest Montana? I didn’t stand a chance; I was under the spell.
Where am I going with this? This is supposed to be about dentistry after all. Hopefully, it’s like a Bob Ross painting and will work out beautifully in the end, happy trees and all.
What happened after the 20 years? Well, I made Northwest Montana my permanent residence. Like it or not, I was going to meet my hero. I was going to be introduced to the months of November & April (thank goodness for Big Mountain), the calendar equivalent of seeing Montana in the morning without her makeup on and then meeting her crazy family. But every relationship is like that right, you have to see the
Some years back in this same magazine I said that there “is nothing better than the real thing.” This still holds true still and will for years to come. And while I practice “Dentistry” another big word that is used to describe my profession is “Prosthodontics.” This is the combination of the words prosthetic and odontic. A prosthetic is something artificial that replaces something real or natural, and odontic simply means “related to the teeth.” With that in mind, there are very few procedures I do that couldn’t be classified as a prosthodontic procedure. Fillings, Crowns/Bridges, and Implants are what we call a fixed prosthodontic,
Every day I have the opportunity to manage a patient’s expectations and discuss their dental “reality.” I have to introduce them to the Novembers and Aprils in their mouths. (Did I just write the weirdest sentence ever?) There are forces and factors that stand as obstacles between their current dental situation and where they would like their smiles and oral health to be.
health} meaning it is a permanent fixture that is not removable which replaces teeth or portions of teeth. Dentures fall into the removable prosthodontic category. These are the options for replacing decayed, broken, or lost teeth and are very very rarely equal to your Godgiven teeth in look, function, and feel. Every day I have the opportunity to manage a patient’s expectations and discuss their dental “reality.” I have to introduce them to the Novembers and Aprils in their mouths. (Did I just write the weirdest sentence ever?) There are forces and factors that stand as obstacles between their current dental situation and where they would like their smiles and oral health to be. Some of these are cosmetic and some are functional, but the majority involve both. I have discussed these forces and factors over and over during my 6 years writing for 406 Woman Magazine. Such as risk levels for developing tooth decay, the presence or lack of available bone, the presence or lack of healthy gum tissue, tooth alignment, and placement, financial limitations, etc. My job as your dentist is to discuss the steps needed to maintain, reduce, or eliminate these obstacles. Dentistry is no different than anything else on the internet. You will see the 10% of cases that turned out perfect because the doctors are very proud and happy with their results, and rightly so. These are cases that had a prepared dentist, but also those factors mentioned earlier lined up nicely and were conducive to an ideal outcome. What we won’t see is the 90% of the day-in and day-out reality of dental outcomes. Pretty dang good, but not perfect enough for Instagram. You have survived another Dr. Miller article. Thanks for taking the time to read. I really appreciate 406 Woman Magazine for giving me an outlet to ramble on and philosophize about life, dentistry, and Montana. You all are perfect enough for Instagram in my book. And speaking of Instagram feel free to follow us @smilemontana if you don’t already.
406 contents food & flavor 16. Fresh Linguine with Heirloom Tomato Sauce Thermador 20. CrĂŞpes
design 26. Tablescaping Collaboration 38. Accessorize
32. Kimberly Weichers
travel 42. Yountville, CA
46. Kaylene and Josh
happenings 52. Yacht Rock
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business manager Daley McDaniel
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We are squeezing in as much summer as we can, knowing our days are numbered as we head into fall. There is much to look forward to as the days grow shorter, the air crisper, and Montana starts to show her colors. 406 Woman is ready for the change of the season along with all the new and exciting things ahead for the magazine. We hope you are noticing the new content, there is more to come. We are thrilled to have all of the new followers on our Instagram and extremely excited and grateful to announce a new partnership with Fred’s Appliance and Thermador. We want to say a sincere Thank You to all our readers, advertisers and contributors for the support we feel from you, the local businesses and health community. We love connecting with you and supporting you as well. We hope you find this issue full of inspiration.
Thanks to Scout And Gather Mercantile for the photo location.
Amanda & Cindy
In this issue you’ll find…. An artist's hunt for the perfect pieces from the past to turn them into timeless, storytelling jewelry. A tale of a self-proclaimed ski-bum turned Physical Therapist and how she uses her love for sports and the outdoors to better serve her patients. She's not just keeping treatment in the office. A videographer using technology to soar to new heights. Bianka, a certified drone pilot, uses her skills to capture family videos from a different angle. How a love of sci-fi and a lot of perseverance can lead to dream jobs. An interview with Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Star War's Ashoka Tano, author, and founder of Her Universe. How she defied the industry and developed a highly successful collection of fan-girl fashion. Jaymee takes us for a ride with her for a weekend of restaurants and wine tasting in the beautiful Napa Valley sun.
Meet Shea Swenson … Freelance Journalist
Shea grew up in Minnesota but lived in Flathead Valley for nine years before returning to Minneapolis for college. After recently earning a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota, she is back in Montana for the summer. Shea loves all things outdoors. When she isn’t on deadline, you can find her on a mountainside in Glacier National Park, floating the Swan River or camping on the Hungry Horse Reservoir. Reading and writing have always been high on Shea’s list of favorite pass-times, which played a big role in her choice to pursue a career journalism. Shea’s favorite thing about journalism is that she gets to constantly learn about the people and environments that surround her. As for the future, she hopes to fill her career with learning and telling unique stories about the communities she encounters.
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Billings - Bozeman - Missoula - Kalispell
The Secret Ingredient is
Linguine with Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Inspired cooking makes for a flavorful life. Thermador ap-
pliances help ignite your culinary flame—giving you the base ingredients to create exceptional dishes. Sleek designs add richness to any kitchen design, and industry-leading technology will help transform our passion for premium quality into everything you put on a plate. As sleek as they are versatile, Thermador cooktops and rangetops give you ample power to whip up your next signature dish. Visit www.thermador.com to explore the newest collections.
Thermador Fresh Linguine with Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Heirloom Tomato Sauce
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh Pasta Dressing
2 large shallots, sliced thin 2-3 large cloves garlic, minced 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, chopped 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves)
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely cut
2 1/3 cups flour 3 eggs 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
Make the Sauce
1. Heat saucepan on medium high heat. Add oil then shallots and garlic. Cook until slightly brown and fragrant.
2. Add chopped tomatoes, sugar, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Bring sauce to low simmer and reduce heat to maintain the low simmer. 3. Cook sauce for about 20 minutes. Keep sauce warm (preferably using the ExtraLow® function) while making the pasta, or store the sauce covered in the refrigerator and heat when ready to serve.
Make the Pasta
1. Pile the flour on your working surface and make a well in the middle of the pile (large enough to fit the eggs, oil, and water).
2. Add the eggs, oil, and water into the well, and with a fork gradually whisk from the center of the well outward, whisking the flour into the
liquid ingredients. Keep whisking in the flour until the dough starts to hold together in a single mass.
3. At this point begin folding in the remaining flour using your hands and a dough scraper (bench knife) to scrape any dough sticking to the surface or your hands. Kneed the dough until it it feels smooth (about 5 minutes), adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes - 1 hour to let the dough relax. 4. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Shape the first piece of dough into an oval nearly as wide as your pasta roller (cover the remaining dough pieces with a towel to keep from drying out). 5. Set your pasta roller to its widest setting. Keeping the dough and surface lightly floured, pass the dough through the pasta roller. Fold the dough in thirds, keeping the dough roughly a rectangle. Press the
rectangle thinner so that it can pass through the pasta roller without bunching up.
6. Lightly dust the dough again with flour. Reduce the pasta roller setting to next widest setting and pass the dough through the rollers again. Repeat dusting with flour and rolling the pasta, progressively reduced the pasta roller settings, one setting at time (don't get impatient and skip settings). Cooking tip: As the dough gets thinner, drape the dough sheets over the back of your hand to feed it through the rollers to keep from puncturing the dough with your fingertips). 7. When the dough reaches your desired thickness (normally about the 3rd or 4th thinnest setting), lay the dough sheet on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into your desired pasta length (for linguine it's usually about 1-foot long). Either cut the dough sections with the fettuccine/linguine pasta cutter attachment or cut into noodle strands with a wheel or knife by
hand. Gently toss the noodles with a bit of flour and set aside in a light pile. Repeat the rolling and cutting with the remaining 3 dough pieces.
8. Cover the noodles with a dry towel, set aside and cook within 1 hour or refrigerate them for up to 4 hours. You can also freeze them for up to a month in a zip-lock and then take the pasta straight from the freezer to the boiling pasta water.
When Ready to Serve
1. Reheat the sauce, if needed. If desired, warm your serving plates or platter (if you don’t have a warming drawer, the Proof function on your Thermador oven also works great to warm plates before serving). 2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Boil the pasta for about 1 minute or until the pasta is tender. Using spider strainer or tongs, remove the pasta from the water and divide between the warm plates and serve with the sauce and garnished with the fresh basil. Enjoy!
CrĂŞpes By Carole Morris
I had a wonderful and exhilarating vacation this year with my family. We had a real European vacation…in Paris, London and Scotland. Talk about remarkable sights; I still can’t believe all the stunning structures and ancient historical artifacts that we encountered! In Paris, one of the sights we had to see was the Eiffel Tower. We were not disappointed! It was beautiful…especially at night when it was all lit up. Even though the Eiffel Tower is one of the most well-known structures in the world, there were some facts about it that I didn’t know. One unknown fact was it originally was built as the entrance arch for the World's Fair in 1889. An additional unknown fact—it was the tallest man made structure in the world for 41 years. Another lovely sight in Paris is the crêpe, which also tastes really amazing. It is considered the national dish of France— and I applaud their choice. Who would have thought that a very thin, cooked pancake could be so amazing and versatile? The word, crêpe is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning "curled." This issue I chose one national dish from Paris, to keep my vacation alive! Next issue, (in the fall) I’ll unveil the national dish of London; this will enable me to revitalize my vacation mindset. Do I have a gorgeous crêpe recipe for you!
1/4 cup butter (melt) 2 eggs 3 tbsp. sugar 1/2 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla 1/8 cup water 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 cup flour (mix in last)
1. Using a whisk, mix all of the ingredients together (except for the flour). Next, whisk in the flour, a little bit at a time, until the flour has been mixed in (do not over mix).
2. Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes. Then, whisk the batter once before using.
3. Using a 6" skillet, melt butter in skillet over medium heat (enough to grease the bottom of the skillet). Ladle approximately 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Immediately tip the skillet from side to side so that the batter is spread evenly in the pan. 4. Cook crêpe approximately 40 seconds before loosening up the edges with a large spatula. If the crêpe lifts easily, then it is ready to be flipped. If it doesn't lift up easily, cook for about 15 or more seconds and try lifting it again. After lifting the crêpe out of the pan, flip it over and cook the other side for about 15 seconds. Remove from pan to cool. Repeat procedure until all batter is used. Makes approximately 8 crêpes.
Honey Raspberry Crêpes Ingredients
2 C Red Raspberries 1/4 tsp. grated orange peel 1 cup ricotta cheese 4 tbsp. honey (for ricotta cheese) 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 2 teaspoon melted butter or margarine Honey (for garnish)
Combine ricotta cheese with 4 tbsp. honey, orange peel and cinnamon.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of cheese filling onto each crêpe; fold into fourths (like a napkin). Place into baking dish. Brush butter on the top of filled crepes. Bake covered, at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
Garnish top of crêpes with raspberries and drizzle with honey. As the Parisians would say, “jouir” (Enjoy)!
Strawberry and Cream Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 1 package cream cheese (8 oz. softened) 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tbsp. lemon juice 1 cup whipping cream (whipped) 6 cups strawberries (sliced)
Mix the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and lemon juice together with a mixer until smooth, then stir in the whipped cream with a spoon.
Fill each crêpe with approximately 1/4 cup strawberries and 1/4 cup of the cream cheese filling. Next, roll up the crêpe and put a little of the cream cheese filling on top and a few sliced strawberries (for garnish).
Breakfast Crêpe Ingredients
8 eggs ½ tsp. salt and pepper 3 tbsp. butter 6 slices ham Hollandaise Sauce
Beat eggs with salt and pepper, then melt butter in pan. Add the eggs and cook until scrambled soft. Place one slice of ham on each crepe and put a spoonful of eggs on top. Roll crêpe (with ham and eggs inside) and top with warm Hollandaise sauce.
Hollandaise Sauce Ingredients
2 tbsp. heavy cream 2 egg yolks 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pepper 1/2 tsp. paprika 1 tbsp. lemon juice 1/2 c butter
Directions: Whisk together cream,
egg yolks, and lemon juice in small saucepan until blended. Cook, stirring constantly—over very low heat, until mixture bubbles at the outer edges. STIR IN butter, until butter is melted and until sauce is thickened. REMOVE from heat immediately. STIR in salt, paprika and pepper.
Collaboration By June Jeffries for Empress Tents and Events Photographed by Kelly Kirksey Photography
Weddings bring people together long before the ‘actual’ day - a series of events are a stepping stone to the ‘big day’! Bridal Showers are one of the precelebratory events; we are thrilled to share with you our do it yourself event. We grew up in a large family, it seemed someone was always getting married or having a baby. Showers were a chance to connect and reconnect with family and friends. I think we all enjoy a reason to gather. Bridal showers are a collaborative effort, a combination of ideas and inspiration from a group of women who have one goal: plan the best bridal shower for the special bride. Isn’t that the objective?
Showers were a chance to connect and reconnect with family and friends. I think we all enjoy a reason to gather.
Clearly, we had a leg up and a competitive advantage in our quest to make it the ‘best’ because we had the luxury of hosting the shower at Weatherwood. (Thank you, thank you Patty) We love Weatherwood because it is perfectly curated with old-world charm and Montana magic; it was the perfect spot for our hometown girl. In addition, we had access to a ‘long’ list of party accessories since the bride’s mother is Lynn Malmberg who owns Empress Tents and Events, Vintage Whites and just so happens to be a wedding planner but let’s put that all aside because for us it was a family affair.
We thought it would be fun to create a series of ’stations’ because it encourages the guests to mingle because all gatherings are about food, drink, good conversation, and laughter. Initially, it was our plan to host a garden party but we all know the weather in June is often unpredictable so when the rain came we quickly revised our perfectly planned party and moved it indoors. The stations were set up around the Weatherwood’s main house: mimosa bar in one corner of the house, caesar bar on the covered deck, food table in the living room, coffee and dessert bar in the kitchen and small tables placed strategically throughout the available space - it worked with a little ingenuity. Planning an outdoor soiree always requires a backup plan. (Always have a Plan B)
An outdoor enthusiast taking physical therapy to the trails of Montana By Shea Swenson Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography
Kimberly Weichers never stops moving. Nomadic by nature, Kimberly ski-bummed and held many seasonal jobs between undergrad and graduate school, looking for her perfect mountain town. It was a summer road trip to escape the smoky air of Missoula that proved to Kimberly the resort village she had been searching for had been right under her nose the whole time. Kimberly had been to the Whitefish area many times before realizing it was the place for her. Accompanied by a good friend from West Glacier, she would travel here each May after winters spent skiing in Utah and Big Sky. Through her travels, she met and remained friends with a handful of locals. She then moved to Missoula to get her doctorate in physical therapy, which got her one step closer to her Flathead Valley fate. She was in Whitefish on the last stop of the road trip, aiming to head back to her then-home in Missoula when that fate was sealed. In a true, small-town Montana moment, Kimberly was out with a friend when they ran into a woman from a local physical therapy clinic, Whitefish Therapy and Sports Center. They were hiring.
A short conversation changed Kimberly’s plan to head home the next morning to a plan to head to a job interview. 78 406
So with a little smoke and some serendipity, Kimberley got the job and the mountain-town home of her dreams. Becoming a physical therapist was not always part of Kimberly’s plan. Outdoorsy and adventurous, she received her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota in Outdoor Education. For years, Kimberly spent her summers leading 2040 day trips through the wilderness. “In a previous life,” Kimberly says, “I was an outdoor adventure guide for teens.” Her active lifestyle led Kimberly to a few injuries that landed her in a physical therapy clinic in Big Sky as a patient. As Kimberly watched and experienced her physical therapist doing his job, she realized what a good fit the career would be for her. “It’s something I could do where I could still live in a resort town,” Kimberly says while describing her
decision to become a physical therapist. “It would give me a rewarding career and honor my passion of helping people play outdoors. I love helping people become their best functional selves so that they can more fully enjoy their life in this beautiful place we live.” Kimberly says her experience with personal injury helps her to be genuinely empathetic with patients. During her first year of physical therapy schooling, she suffered a skier’s worst nightmare. She tore her ACL, MCL and medial meniscus. Kimberly also sustained a deep bone bruise and an ankle sprain.
Kimberly spent many months in a wheelchair, on crutches and in and out of a walking boot as a result of her injuries. It took her years of dedicated recovery to return to 100 percent. As an avid mountain biker and skier with a history of such injuries, she knows it can be difficult at times to strike a balance between doing what you love without overdoing it.
Dressed by the Village Shop, Whitefish Ring by Erin Hawley, Rag and Stone Metalsmith
While guiding patients through their recovery from injury, Kimberly strives to make the process informative, inspirational and fun. She enjoys developing a professional, trusting relationship with her patients. “I can say, ‘Hey, this is something I’m dealing with as well,’” Kimberly says. “I think it helps my patients realize I am a human too.”
“It was the first thing in my life that I ever picked up quickly,” Kimberly says. “I have never been that person who is good at everything they try for the first time. I have always had to work for the things that I want. Biking is the first thing that came relatively easily to me.”
Kimberly finds her balance by knowing her limits. Whether that means she gets off her bike to stretch immediately after a ride or tells people she bikes with, “Hey, I can go with you; I just have to take a few breaks.”
Her previous injuries don’t stop Kimberly from biking. She takes part in a race league on Thursday nights on Whitefish Mountain, as well as longdistance cross country and enduro races, as much as her body will allow.
“It’s about just doing what you need to do to get back out there, and being ok if it’s not yet to the capacity you want,” Kimberly says, “You have to honor where your body is at.”
Through Whitefish Therapy and Sports Center, Kimberly leads excursions like “Bike with a Physical Therapist,” where she takes people out on the trails to give them tips on body mechanics and posture on the bike. She provides techniques to decrease stress on muscles and joints to allow people to bike more often or farther distances with less pain.
So, when she notices a patient struggling with the process, she can honestly relate.
Kimberly found her love of mountain biking in Big Sky, after agreeing to go on a week-long biking trip to Moab even though she had never been on a geared bike. But Kimberly was a natural, and the experience was eye-opening.
“Not everyone needs on-the-table therapy,” Kimberly says. “So we try to get out there and reach people while they are doing what they love.”
If participants need more than just a posture tip, the excursions give Kimberly a better idea of what a person may need back in the clinic. She offers each participant a free 30 minute consult in the clinic. In the winter, Kimberly and Whitefish Therapy and Sports Center offer a similar, ski-based excursion, called “Skin with a Physical Therapist.” In addition to her love of sports and orthopedic physical therapy, Kimberly sees a wide range of treatment populations, including women’s health.
“It’s not very widely known that women’s health physical therapy encompasses more than just pre- and post-natal care,” Kimberly says. Kimberly treats women of all ages for specific needs unique to a woman’s body, such as incontinence issues from weak pelvic floor muscles, hip and knee pain due to a woman’s pelvic and femur alignment, upper back, shoulder and neck pains from breastfeeding and carrying infants, amongst others.
Physical therapy is not just for those with huge injuries, according to Kimberly. She also deals with minor pains and preventative care, in the hopes of catching pains before they become chronic. “You don’t have to have broken your leg or sprained your ankle,” Kimberly says. She has also developed a passion for helping her older patients stay active and enjoy the freedom of movement throughout the decades. As a physical therapist, Kimberly wears many hats. With an abundance of energy, empathy and an infectious smile, it’s easy to see how Kimberly juggles being a coach, counselor, friend and confidant to her patients. Her favorite part of the job, where she finds the most joy, is going on hikes or otherwise celebrating with patients after they ‘graduate.’ Kimberly loves to join them in the desired activities they’ve been striving towards in therapy. In the past, Kimberly has attended patient’s guitar concert, seen a patient at a hula dance performance and climbed a peak in Glacier with another. While guiding patients through their recovery from injury, Kimberly strives to make the process informative, inspirational and fun. She enjoys developing a professional, trusting relationship with her patients. Getting patients back to doing what they love is why Kimberly does it, and she strives to restore her patients to better function than their pre-injury status. “That’s what it’s all about.” The next “Bike With a PT” sessions, led by Kimberly, will take place on Sept. 4, 19 and 24. Contact Kimberly at Whitefish Therapy and Sport Center at (406)-862-9378 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Accessorize By Wrightâ€™s Furniture
Whether you are decorating a space to reflect a mountain modern, rustic cabin or eclectic modern farmhouse style let these rustic inspired accent pieces help add texture, contrast and balance to any room. Accent pieces come in all styles, shapes, colors and materials allowing everyone the opportunity to find something unique that fits their personal needs. From natural Tibetan sheep toss pillows and reclaimed wood candle holders to faux fur throws and metal accent tables, the options are endless. At Wrightâ€™s Furniture we strive to offer the widest selection of unique wall, floor, bed and tabletop accessories for you to choose from.
Todayâ€™s most popular interior design looks use a mingling of materials, from textiles, leathers, and trimmings, to wood, stone, metal, and glass. People want to create rooms that bring to life an interplay of varied textures and surfaces that are diverse. Rooms become eclectic collections of items working together to create comfort with an overall balance of patterns, colors, lines, and shapes.
-The pictured accessories as well as many other styles are available at Wright's Furniture6325 HWY 93 South, Whitefish, Montana 59937 | 406.862.2455 | Open Daily |Free Local Delivery | Free Design Services | www.wrightsfurniturestore.com
Wine Down A Weekend In Yountville, CA
I love weddings.
By Jaymee Sire Photos by Justin Aharoni
No matter what the setting, seeing my friends and family bring all of their most cherished people together in one spot to celebrate their love is a really beautiful thing. That said, I really love weddings when my friends pick vacation destinations like Napa Valley to tie the knot. I found myself in the latter situation recently when our friends Matthew and Sarah decided to wed just outside Yountville, CA. First of all, the entire town smells like you are permanently in a day spa. Notes of Jasmine and lavender float through the air, and it's really hard not to be in a zen mood at all times. That state of being is of course enhanced by the abundance of world-class dining and wine tasting, making it pretty much the perfect weekend getaway. Let this article serve as your “to-do” list to enjoy it to the fullest. Find a cozy home base for the weekend: Hotel Villagio Sometimes when I travel, I don't give much thought or budget to the accommodations if I don't plan on spending much time there. However, there are other times when the hotel is just as much of a destination as the location itself. I feel that way about Napa. After a full day of eating and wine tasting, you will be craving a comfortable and welcoming place to wind down (or wine down if that's the case.) Also... since nothing is really open super late in the valley, you will be likely spending a little more time at your hotel than normal. You may also want part or all of a day just to lay by the pool and soak in that warm California sun or partake in a luxurious spa treatment. Hotel Villagio checks all of those boxes. The entire estate is massive (22 acres to be exact.) And aside from the hotel, pool, and spa... the property is flanked on one end by a beautiful roadside vineyard and a marketplace with shops and restaurants on the other end, complete with a sparkling new events center. Best of all, it's located right in the middle of town and easy walking distance to pretty much everything. (And if you don't feel like walking, they also offer complimentary bicycles to borrow.)
to wine country. But this trip ranks as one of my favorites, thanks in part to some extremely special experiences.
Among some of the other complementary features at Hotel Villagio is a bountiful wine country breakfast each morning. Friday and Saturday evenings offer a complimentary wine tasting in the Vintage House and don't miss the "art of sabering" on Fridays at 6 pm on the patio. Valet parking and wifi are also included in your stay. Taste some wine... duh. Of course, there is no shortage of wineries in the Napa Valley, and chances are, that's likely why you are visiting in the first place! Living in SF for 5 years, I had my fair share of weekend getaways, bachelorette parties, and even day trips
We had the opportunity to visit both Silver Oak Cellars and Domaine Chandon, where we enjoyed private tours and tastings at both wineries. We learned so much about the history of the area and the winemaking process itself, so I definitely recommend scheduling a tour of at least one winery that you decide to visit. (Check out Silver Oak particularly if you are a Napa Cab fan, and Chandon if you are in the mood for a little bubbly or curious about the process of making Champagne.)
Experience "the new guard" of Napa Valley Winemakers: Ashes & Diamonds On our final day in the area, we were lucky enough to visit a newer winery, called Ashes & Diamonds. First of all, the grounds are unlike most wineries I've ever visited. The mid-century modern design makes you feel as though you've set foot onto a sleek 70's private estate that just happens to serve delicious food and wine.
as a geological wonderland capable of world-class wines."
In fact, they describe themselves on their website as a "love letter to Napa Valley as it was when it took the world stage in the 1960s, revealing itself
Eat at a Thomas Keller restaurant If you are a foodie, then you likely already know the name, Thomas Keller. He is the first and only
They nailed it. You can only dine here if it's part of a "tasting experience"... and you absolutely should. We visited on a Sunday in June, when they were featuring "Au Vin Blanc," a vertical tasting of three different blanc wines paired with a Frenchcountry inspired menu curated by Chef Ethan Speizer. The star of the meal was a wood-fired roasted chicken served with garlic confit, bread salad and white wine sauce, made from the very wines you will be tasting alongside it. Every dish he put in front of us was equally devoured and enjoyed, so it's tough for me to pick a favorite. I loved the way he used seasonal vegetables and cooked them in the outdoor wood oven, while also incorporating the wine into the dishes themselves.
American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide. He has received countless accolades, including The Culinary Institute of America’s “Chef of the Year” Award and the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” Awards. His most famous restaurant in the Valley is The French Laundry... where they source most of their produce from a beautiful and lush garden located across the street. If you have the means and are able to score a reservation, then, by all means, do it! If you simply want to sample some of Keller's signature food and flavors, you can check out Bouchon Bistro for traditional French fare, Bouchon Bakery for baked goods (though beware, the line starts early), family-style food at Ad Hoc, or even more accessible... Addendum, his new casual spot located behind Ad Hoc that serves up BBQ and fried chicken in a picnic atmosphere (or you can order boxes to go!) We were lucky to dine in the Addendum garden as part of the bride and groom's Friday night welcome party... and it was as enchanting as it was delicious. Everyone
should try this fried chicken in their lifetime... lemon brined, buttermilk fried, crispy on the outside, impossibly juicy on the inside with a hint of rosemary. Perfection. Venture out of Yountville: The Charter Oak Restaurant Ok, so I know that is sort of counter-intuitive to the title of this article, since my weekend was mostly focused right in the town of Yountville. But the Napa Valley has so much to offer, both in wine and food, that I would be remiss not to suggest some other towns. One of my favorites on the Napa side
is St. Helena, which has become a food destination in its own right. We visited The Charter Oak, which is the newer and more casual spot of acclaimed chef Christopher Kostow, who is known for his three-Michelin star establishment, The Restaurant
at Meadowood. The Charter Oak is a family-style dining experience, highlighting the seasonal bounty from the area with just a couple ingredients at a time, centering around the open hearth in the middle of the restaurant.
Two of my favorite dishes were simple, vegetable focused, and oh so memorable. Definitely make sure the starter of fresh vegetables from the restaurant's farm served with a fermented soy dip is on your table. The plate was like a painter's palette of colorful veggies, all with that snappy, just-picked crunch. I've never loved a crudité platter more. We also ordered one of the seasonal specials: corn on the cob brushed with house-made cultured butter, grilled, and then sprinkled with yeast salt. Again... so simple but so fresh, flavorful and unique. If you dine there in the evening, I've heard great things about the "family dinner," where the chef simply cooks and brings out the food family-style for $90 per person. Get Yourself Invited to an awesome wedding: Paula LeDuc Catering With the groom being a big foodie himself, I did want to give a small shout out to probably the most delicious and beautiful wedding food I've ever experienced. I know that many hours went into the selection and wine pairing of the stunning meal celebrating his and Sarah's big day, and it definitely didn't go unnoticed. Especially those white truffle
deviled eggs that I may have had 2 (or 8) of before dinner even started. But of course, you don't need a wedding as an excuse to visit this charming little town... just an appetite for good food and wine. Cheers to that!
Jaymee grew up in North Central Montana and is an Emmy Award winning sports broadcaster, former ESPN SportsCenter anchor, and occasional Food Network contributor. She also writes a food and travel blog called “e is for eat.” (eisforeat.com)
& Joshwa Photography by Kelly Kirksey Photography Location Kleffner Ranch
May 19th, 2019
Who are you?
Joshwa Baker: I am a Louisiana kid, born and raised until I was 22. In 2012, I moved to Montana for a Christian camp and fell in love with the mountains and moved here in 2013. I love adventure and people! God has been a part of my life since I was little. As a young adult, I fell in love with who Jesus Christ is. My faith is a big component in my life and has helped me to make it through this past year of our lives. Jesus’ mission is about the redemption of all things and all peoples; therefore, He is also about redeeming what happened to Kaylene! Kaylene Baker: Born and raised in Helena, Montana. I was a shy and timid girl, but when I turned 18, I began a relationship with Jesus and that changed me. It made me love people more. I knew I wanted to work in ministry, so when I heard about Chi Alpha campus ministry in Bozeman, I was excited about the potential. In 2008, I joined that staff team. Best job ever!
How did you meet?
We first met at Chi Alpha events at Montana
State. We became friends when Josh started volunteering on the staff team.
How We Started Dating
Joshwa: We spent more time together as we took coaching classes together for a year. Kaylene had a boyfriend and there was no funny business going on between us. After their relationship ended, we went and finished a business dinner that ended with me telling Kaylene that I was interested. She liked me also and we had our first date a month later! We hiked to the top of Ross Peak! An epic first date!
Joshwa: On February 14th, I was planning on taking her to a lookout over Helena and asking her to marry me. We went to dinner with no reservation and ended waiting there for 3 and a half hours. I was freaking out! I knew I wanted to ask her, but now we were driving home.
Kaylene: When we got home and Josh offered to help me out of the car, I didn't think it was anything special. He said he knows our lives are not what we thought they would be and he wanted
to keep doing this life together! He dropped that knee and asked me to marry him! I said, "absolutely I will!"
What is love?
Joshwa: Love is what we are created to do and what we are to continue to grow. I believe love can be the feeling of butterflies and limerence and yet, at its deepest core, love is doing what I know is best for the other person, even at a great personal loss to me. I don’t think that every decision or feeling of love is surrounded by self-sacrifice. Many times, the moments and choices of love require that Kaylene and I just be together and laugh and goof off, or cuddle. I believe love is more than a feeling, love, especially the kind for the long-haul, is based on knowing who you are as an individual and then making the choice to love.
Kaylene: Love is choosing to be with someone and to care for them and to serve them, even when it is difficult. That is not just for marriage, that is how you love in normal life. To love, you sometimes have to choose to serve someone even if you don’t feel like it.
I believe is more than a feeling, love, especially the kind for the longhaul, is based on knowing who you are as an individual and then making the choice to love.
What do you love most about each other?
Joshwa: I think Kaylene is incredibly clever. She often has quick one-liners or funny observations that really show off how smart she is. She can make me laugh all the time and she never really forces her humor and wit, it just comes naturally. Kaylene: What I love most about Josh is his love for people. He always makes people feel included and extremely important. After spending time with Josh, people leave knowing that they are loved by him.
When did you know you were in love?
Joshwa: I really fell in love quick. Butterflies, nervousness, unable to stop thinking about her. I told her I loved her and proposed all within about 4 months. Though I freaked out and started backing off soon after. Our love story took a turn for the worst when we decided to call off that first engagement. When the accident happened, I was scared that Kaylene might die. I knew that if I could exchange my life for Kaylene I would. I wish I could give her my hand or my
leg or both. Several months into the accident, Kaylene told me I did not have to stay with her, and that’s when I fell in love with her. She who is enduring the hardest trial in her life was willing to let go of me because she loved me. Amazing! Kaylene: For me, love grew over time. I first had a lot of admiration for Josh before we started dating. Honestly, some of it happened really quick, on our first hike I thought how awesome it would be if we could date. When he told me he loved me a couple of weeks into dating, I felt comfortable in saying I loved him too. Even after our first engagement ended, I knew I loved him and did not want our relationship to end. I was willing to wait for him. Love set in again when I discovered that Josh had hardly left the hospital while I had been sedated for 3 1/2 weeks.
We got married in Helena, Montana, Kaylene’s hometown. The Kleffner Ranch is a beautiful property with a gorgeous barn that we were able to use for the reception. The amazing thing about our wedding is how many people donated
their time and services for us to have a much nicer wedding than we could have afforded on our own.
That day it was quite cold and cloudy for May. We made a last-minute decision to hold the ceremony outside because we thought it was beautiful out by the creek. During the ceremony, a couple of geese flew close overhead, which was fun for many of our guests and as you may know, geese mate for life. We will take that symbol for ourselves too! Our photographer was amazing! I think Kelly was born for this stuff. She has an amazing way of making people feel comfortable in front of the camera. She helped us and the wedding party take plenty of fun and amazing photos together that will help us remember that day for many years to come!
We went to Fairmont Hot Springs in Montana the week after our wedding. It was cloudy and cold and it made it a great time to soak and rest
Love is choosing to be
with someone and to care for them and to serve them, even when it is difficult. in the hot springs and hotel. Most of our days there were spent lounging, but we did get a game of mini-golf in also!
When commenting on her experience to photograph their wedding, Kelly Kirksey Fisk had this to say, "When I saw
that Kaylene was in her accident and saw she was in a coma, I felt right then and there that I was going to do her wedding. She wasn't even engaged at that point and honestly, they weren't sure she was even going to pull through it all, but I knew right then I would do her wedding. I was elated when she and Josh got engaged for a second time, and even more over the moon when I heard from her. I love serving my couples. Even more than just photographing their wedding, I firmly believe we are there to serve them and bless them on their wedding day. But they blessed me more than I blessed them, I think. To see two people who have every right just to be sad or even angry and bitter, but they've embraced what they've been through and are using it to develop their character. Perseverance isn't something we see a lot anymore I don't think. And to see these two people come out on the other side still hopeful, grateful and happy gives me hope that no matter what life throws at me, you can come out the other side. Not to mention Kaylene and Josh are two of the sweetest people you've ever met in your life. Photographing their wedding was something beyond an honor---it was life changing."
Note: Last June Kaylene and Josh were doing one of their favorite activities, rock climbing. A six foot boulder came loose from the side of the mountain hitting Kaylene while she helped Josh belay down the mountain. The rock’s force caused immense damage to her body. It amputated her leg just below the knee, smashed her hand and broke her back in multiple places. She fractured her nose, sternum, scapula, collarbone, ribs and punctured a lung. It dissected an artery in her neck and injured part of her brain. Kaylene was hospitalized and in rehab for more than five months. But less than a year after her accident, she was saying ‘I do!’
Photographer Kelly Kirksey Photography Venue Kleffner Ranch Video Bonafide Film House DJ Moshunal Cake Kelly (family friend) Florist Boyce & Berry Flowers Catering Jan Mohrmann Hair Maddy Higgins Makeup 406 Makeup Artistry Dress After 5 and Weddings Bozeman Rings Eaton-Turner Jewelry Co. Men's Attire INDOCHINO Rentals Wedvents
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