406 contents ...38
featured 10. Tahnee Peppenger Miss Montana USA 12. I Want Her Job Julie Clugage
406 Man 24. Greg Gianforte
profile 16. Michelle Thesing Remedies Day Spa 18. Lisa Slagle Wheelie Creative Design 20. Colette Box Early Edge
Giving Back 14. Philanthropy on Purpose 28. Three Agencies Three Missions and Three Women
30. Applying for a Mortgage? Here's What You Need to Know 32. Adding a New Team Member Project Rosie
34. Federal Estate and Gift Tax Exemptions
Health 36. Off Key Notes
38. Woman of Courage LeAnn Speakman 40. Ask the Skin Coach Supplements for Skin? 42. Kalispell OBGYN Offers V-Backs
44. Y2K, Breath Stuff & Dr Seuss 46. Taking the Time to Breathe 48. Stay Heart Healthy 52. FoodCorps The Bitter Truth about Sugar
Non-Profit 54. Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center
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From the Rodeo Life to the Spotlight … Exclusive Interview with Miss Montana USA 2015 Tahnee Peppenger By Maureen Francisco
No two days are alike for the 26-year-old Great Falls resident who is representing the “406” at Miss USA. She’s a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, titleholder and future governor of Montana. There’s no doubt that Peppenger has beauty and brains, but what is she like as a boss? Does she have any fears? Why would she compete in a beauty pageant? MF: Why Miss Montana USA? TP: One, I have always wanted to be a public figure. Strange, I know! I love being the forefront woman with a duty to serve and represent. I love the anticipation and experience of being abruptly pushed out of my comfort zone. Second, this opportunity felt like a calling. I have always wanted to represent Montana and plan on serving this great state politically, but running for Miss Montana USA presented a unique and challenging opportunity to embark on this journey. There are many days I am still in disbelief of this milestone in my life.
MF: In addition to being Miss Montana USA, you're also an entrepreneur. Tell me more about PinkSpurs & Co.. TP: It is a rodeo fashion design business that is inspired by the rodeo cowgirl. Our mantra speaks to the sacrifice, tenacity, and glamorous spirit these women possess: No Grit. No Pearl. What I love most about my business is how people eagerly assume the brand. They want to identify with PinkSpurs and what this company represents. We have an edge and love it.
MF: What are some challenges of running your own business? TP: I am not one to sit still, so administrative duties challenge me and my focus. Another challenge I encounter is a more personal one. When I design I always have a moment of slight doubt. Will this design appeal to anyone? Will this excite my customers? Is this giving them more of what they want? What do they want? Is this design PinkSpurs exclusive? Obviously, I could go on with many variations of these questions, but it's my reality.
MF: It’s understandable to have doubts and you’ve learned to manage them. You’re also good at managing your schedule between work and pageant duties. TP: Managing my schedule has proven itself difficult and enlightening. I believe that anything worth doing requires a sacrifice. I will never have the opportunity to be Miss Montana USA again, making it once in a lifetime. Therefore, the pace that satisfied my expectations for my business has been pressured and I have had to accept that. I prioritize the needs of my customers and do what I can to advance the design collection of PinkSpurs in the remaining time I have. Despite this transition, I have ambitiously capitalized on this opportunity to serve and represent Montana to the best of my ability.
MF: Being a businesswoman and preparing for the Miss USA pageant, do you find some similarities? Why or why not? TP: Without a doubt! Focus, vision, work ethic, ambition, and humility are similarities that come to mind quickly. Without these strong virtues, in my mind, success is unfathomable. MF: It’s obvious you’re very driven. How are you like as a boss? TP: As a boss, I am direct. I focus heavily on communication and efficiency and do my best to set the precedent by leading by example. Although I come across as a bit callous, I am a thoughtful and understanding partner. I expect an extremely high level of performance from myself and good work from those around me. I typically am never disappointed in the performance of others because my critique is focused on me.
Above photo taken by Kacie Q Photography, www.kacieqphotography.com. Photos on bottom left and top right on page 9 taken by Jerry and Lois Photography, www.jerryandlois.com. Photo right top on page 9 of Miranda Youngren taken by DVM Photgraphy.
featured} MF: What else can we expect from Tahnee in the years to come? TP: You can expect a presence on the Miss USA stage that will be remarkably unforgettable. You can expect to see me running for public office in Montana and serving this state politically with pride and great care. You can expect a team roping championship somewhere in the mix as well! And you can expect a woman leading others to a passionate and purposeful life.
Facts about Miss Montana USA/Miss Montana Teen USA: 1) This is a pageant owned by Donald J Trump in partnership with NBCUniversal. 2) The contestants are judged on three equal categories: interview, evening gown and swimsuit. 3) Halle Berry, Vanessa Lachey, and Bridgette Wilson have competed for the title of Miss USA or Miss Teen USA. 4) The date of the 2015 national competition has not yet been announced, but Miss USA will be likely sometime late spring or early summer. Miss Teen USA’s competition is in the summertime. 5) The last person representing Montana to win the national competition is Katherine “Katie” Blair who won Miss Teen USA in 2006. 6) To become a contestant, go to missmontanausa.com and fill out an application.
Meet Miss Montana Teen USA
M i r a n d a Yo u n g r e n
She’s an athlete and a senior in high school whose graduating class has four people. Soon this 18-year-old from Reed Point will be part of the elite class of 51 ladies competing for the job of Miss Teen USA.
MF: You’ve never competed in a pageant. What made you decide to compete in one?
MY: I first learned about the pageant system about two years ago, right after my family moved to Montana. As much as I love Montana and all it has to offer, it is difficult to find modeling and acting opportunities nearby. When I discovered the Miss Montana Teen USA pageant I was excited to get involved. It has really gone beyond my hopes and expectations.
MF: You've had your title for a couple of months now, what have you learned about yourself so far?
MY: Meeting new people has gone from being intimidating to being enjoyable. I also learned that the best way to get involved and get what you want is to reach out and contact people.
MF: What has been the most memorable experience?
MY: My favorite experience has been designing my own gown for the Miss Teen USA pageant. I never dreamed of getting this kind of opportunity of a lifetime.
MF: How are you preparing for Miss Montana Teen USA?
MY: My biggest priority in preparing for the national pageant is seizing every opportunity to talk publicly and to business and community leaders to refine those skills.
MF: Tell us something that people don't know about you.
MY: One thing people don't know about me is that I helped rescue my cousin in a rafting accident. The raft was stuck on a pillar under a bridge in raging rapids. I didn't think twice to jump in after her and help get her safely to shore.
MF: Once your reign is over, what next for you?
MY: First on the agenda after my reign as Miss Montana Teen USA is to spend next year as Miss Teen USA. After that, I will be pursuing a modeling and acting career to put me through college at Montana State University, where I will study Construction Engineering Technology.
is an award-winning author of It Takes Moxie: Off the Boat, Or Out of School, To Making It Your Way in America. She has been featured in more than 100 media outlets as a writer, contributor or talent for The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, CBS's The Talk, Rachael Ray, and much more. In addition, Maureen is the co-owner of NW Productions LLC., a media company that produces red carpet events, live shows, and reality programming, and manages public relations for companies and personalities. www.maureenfrancisco.com
I Want Her Job:
Te a m 4 Te c h By Brianne Burrowes This article originally appeared on IWantHerJob.com.
The description “dynamic self-starter” is often shared as a key trait for success. Today, we serve up the picture of a dynamic self-starter in Julie Clugage, the co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Team4Tech. Their goal: to improve access to 21st century education in developing countries by connecting technology professionals with nonprofit and non-governmental organizations already working to improve education in these geographies. With a background in economic development and experience living abroad in a Guatemala village for more than two years, educational access has always been a passion for Julie. While living in the country, she taught school and set up a computer lab, igniting the spark for Team4Tech (but the nonprofit wasn’t created quite yet). After Julie’s experience, she completed her graduate studies and went on to work at a handful of development institutions and, after listening to that little inner voice again, returned to the tech sector at Intel. While at the company, she started the Intel Education Service Corps in 2009, a corporate social responsibility program for education. “I saw that we had more than 100 thousand tal-
ented, amazing employees around the world who wanted to get involved in projects, but just didn’t know how,” Julie says. It was that thought — along with her role of supporting nonprofit customers using Intel’s education platform — that sparked the initiative. “There were all of these doubters who said, ‘Is anyone going to want to do this? Will their managers let them go for two weeks?’ We had 500 people apply for the first 20 spots and it’s been like that ever since,” Julie says. Now more than 400 Intel employees have completed more than 80 projects. The program made Julie think: What about applying this formula for all tech companies? So, two years ago, Julie and her former boss at Intel, Lila Ibrahim, left Intel and co-founded Team4Tech (Ibrahim, who was leading the education group at Intel at the time, has since left to become a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers). “I feel like I’m really living the startup life right now,” Julie says. “We have five people working on Team4Tech and this year, we’ll have done seven projects with tech employees from eight different companies.” Even more proof that the little things matter, because they’re often catalysts for much bigger things.
How does Team4Tech deliver on its mission to improve access to 21st century education in developing countries? We do this through three layers. In one layer, we can expand access to digital literacy, which would be installing a computer lab or placing computers in schools. Another layer is to help a partner leverage digital content or software to improve context expertise in STEM or English literacy, for example. Sometimes we even work with preschools on early reading and math tools. The third layer is what I think is most exciting: role-modeling 21st century teaching and learning. For kids to get a really good job today, they’re going to need current skills, including critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration, which goes against the typical way they’ve been taught. Usually, there are 80 kids in a classroom with one chalkboard in the corner. And if students have a piece of paper and a pencil, they’ll try to write down and memorize what’s on the board. We’re trying to help with access to technology and software, but also trying to introduce this idea of collaborative problem solving.
To do this, we work primarily with companies, but also with individuals from the tech-sector. We put together teams, then work with them on the sidelines of their day job via phone for two months to get them trained for a project. Then our ac-
tual trips require two weeks of travel. After that, as an organization, we follow up with the non-governmental organization (NGO) and send another team to continue the work. We like to have long-term relationships with these nonprofits, so for anywhere from three to five years, we’ll send one to two teams per year to make sure each project is fully integrated.
Is there a particular story or situation that stands out in your mind that you’ve been particularly proud to be a part of?
In 2009, one of the first projects we did was with a small nonprofit that was working in Kenya. They started a preschool for kids from the local, under-served slum area about 45 minutes outside of Nairobi. You have to pass an exam to get into first grade in Kenya; even to get into the public schools. None of these kids were passing the exam. They had no development at all. From our work at Intel, we knew about an adaptive learning software program that would be customized to each child and focused on building early English literacy and numeracy. When we started in 2009, it took a couple of years to really integrate. The school had all kids spending 30 minutes a day on the adaptive software. Then, this year 100% of the kids from that preschool passed the exam. Now that nonprofit organization is expanding the program in the local pri-
mary schools, because they didn’t just want to graduate their kids and then have them go back to nothing. We went back and set up computer labs in two of the local primary schools so the first and second graders also get 30 minutes a day using the software. At the time, we helped with baseline measurement, and six months later, the reading scores of the first-graders had doubled. That’s what we want to see!
With so much on your plate, how are you organizing your day?
It seems more and more that my day starts at 6 a.m. A lot of our calls are with Asia or Africa and 6 a.m. is the magic hour when you can get everybody on a call, so every day this week, I had a 6 a.m. call. I try to wrap up my calls by 8 a.m. so I can make sure my girls get off to school. Then I go into our office. A lot of what we do is training to prepare the tech employees to go on these projects, so we’re
that I find it really liberating to have the freedom to focus on a singular objective I have in mind: how do we improve education by connecting technology volunteers with these projects? And then I have the complete freedom to figure out how to do that. I don’t go to work and sit in a cube. I’m constantly out meeting people. I travel and participate in about two projects per year, and for each, I’m gone two weeks at a time. This year I went to Vietnam and I’m about to go on a project in Cambodia. But I do it with a lot of help. My mom helps a lot and my nanny helps me with my kids.
I think for me, work/life balance means: how do you recharge and feel re-engergized every day? The way I do that is by meeting with different people and having a blank canvas for how I can put the pieces together to come up with that solution. That’s why I love what I do right now. I feel it gives me the freedom to do that in a very entrepreneurial, startup way.
We’re currently working with VMware, which has developed a leadership curriculum around their program. Intuit is also working with us on multiple projects per year. Now that we’re two years in, we’re constantly pitching bigger companies. We’re to the point where some companies are calling us and we love that! That’s what we want. By the end of next year, we hope to get to the point where we have a run rate of 20 projects per year. That means getting at least five companies fully on board and doing three to four projects a year each.
What’s the peak - and pit - of a job in the nonprofit world?
The nonprofit startup world is also my world. We’re just trying to create as we go. The peak for me is something I experienced just the other day — when I get the framework set up so all the pieces come together just right. We had kicked off one of the volunteer teams from VMware who will travel to Cambodia and we also had the nonprofit on the phone calling in from Cambodia. The volunteers with amazing backgrounds and talents were there, VMware’s Corporate Responsibility team was there, and it was just this moment of, “Ahhh, this works! Everything fits together.” For me, that’s the magic. As for the pit, at a startup we’re constantly pitching companies and sometimes the companies say, “Not now,” or “This isn’t for us,” and that’s always disappointing. We have such grand visions for what they can each bring to the table, so we just have to go back again and keep trying in six months or a year. Having to generate all that momentum yourself can sometimes be tough.
constantly having team meetings to check in on the status of the preparation. Then there are all of the startup things I do, too; from the overhead to the admin responsibilities. And before I know it, it’s 6 p.m. and I go home.
As an executive director of a nonprofit and a mom, how do you manage your time?
For me, it’s interesting. Why I love what I’m doing right now so much is
What are some of the challenges you face in your business?
You have a lot of experience building teams. What qualities do you look for when you’re assembling groups of ambassadors for the Team4Tech mission?
Our biggest objective is getting companies signed on and working with us on multiple projects per year. Our pitch to companies is that this is not only good for education and corporate social responsibility, but also its good for your employees as leadership development and good for your product. We have great successes so far and project volunteers learn about emerging markets and how consumers use technology in these markets.
This context is very unique. When we interview those who apply, we tell them, “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love.” We work in very remote, rural and averse conditions in developing countries. The top ingredient for success is flexibility and adaptability; the ability to stay solutions-oriented when things are changing 100 times a day. Although we spend a lot of time preparing for these projects and everyone readies their lesson plans
and technology, you can arrive on the ground and find out something is broken or something you thought was going to be there for you is not there.
It’s also important to stay positive, pivot and do your best. Our volunteers are there to support the nonprofit client, so the reality is the reality. You can’t go in with the mindset that, “I’m going to achieve X,” because it’s not about you. It’s about empowering somebody else. This is why a big part of our training beforehand is focused on human-centered design. This methodology is a constant iterative cycle that is in a constant loop: plan, act, reflect, and revise. That’s such a relevant skill for someone in technology to take back to a day job after their experience.
Is there anything else would like to add?
I think a lot of times in the tech sector, people want to do something like this, but might doubt if their skills are relevant or if they can make it work. We have people from every function — from legal and HR to sales and marketing — who volunteer with us. We can use your skills and we can set you up with a life-changing experience; for you and those you are helping.
Editor’s Note: Team4Tech is looking for people with a passion for expanding access to educational opportunities. If you or your company is interested in volunteering or partnering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
a born-and-raised Montanan, is the founder of I Want Her Job, an award-winning website empowering women in their career search. She also is senior consumer marketing manager at NASCAR track Phoenix International Raceway. You can follow her on Twitter @iwantherjob and read more interviews like this on iwantherjob.com.
Philanthropy on P u r p o s e
By Lucy Smith, Executive Director Flathead Community Foundation
Another year begins, and with it the invitation to make our New Year’s resolutions, thoughtfully considering an important “good” that we will commit to practice for the next twelve months and perhaps forever. While I am not always organized enough to make the most of this symbolic opportunity, my experiences at the Flathead Community Foundation inspired me to declare 2015 as my year for Philanthropy with a Purpose. Taking my cues from the many and wise donors who recognize the value of thoughtful giving, I am intent upon charitable giving that is in tune with what calls to me each month or season. Giving is deeply personal and each of us finds her best way to share time, treasure, and talent. Here is one person’s plan for a year of purposeful philanthropy. January – The month for new beginnings and remembering the deep humanity of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. who assured us that “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” January calls my attention to organizations that seek second chances for offenders and reparation for victims; that work with our Justice system to move from incarceration and punishment to reparation, healing and change. February – What causes are closest to your heart? Love them and be part of their legacy! Consider contributing to or helping to establish an endowment fund for your favorite charity. An endowment is a permanent fund, invested for growth and supported by donors at all levels, to sustain the organization’s mission in perpetuity. Your local community foundation can help you navigate the process with ease.
March – Bring on the sunshine! Give the gift of your time to those who are isolated or shut-in for any
number of reasons. Volunteer your smiles and skills in nursing homes and hospitals; deliver groceries; help with home repair projects. Invite someone who lives alone to join you and your family for a meal or a visit to the library.
April - “Save it for a rainy day.” Surprise your favorite nonprofit with a donation to its reserve fund, or volunteer to help them begin. Are you good with budgets, business plans? Lend your skills to organizations that offer consumer education, personal finance and planning for the future. May – Honor Mother’s Day by supporting women’s health, education for girls, gainful employment for women and efforts to stop trafficking and domestic violence. June – Gardening season! Dig into your nearest community gardens, learn about your district’s school nutrition programs, bring wholesome produce and needed funds to your local food bank. July – Celebrate July 4 with contributions, respect, and appreciation for our veterans and civil guardians. Cheer with the crowds at community parades, pick up litter, and find small ways to lend a hand for the common good. As Anne Frank said, “How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” August – Return the gifts of summer by helping to preserve and protect our beautiful environment with donations and labors of love. Become an expert at recycling, reusing and repurposing. Volunteer at park visitor’s desks, on trail crews, fire lookouts. Spend time as you are able in the wilderness, community parks, open spaces and wildlife sanctuaries. September – Back to school time brings a host of opportunities to make a difference. Read with children, mentor teens, contribute to scholarship
programs, judge debate competitions, attend school plays, chaperone dances, cheer young athletes on at school sports events. October – Time to gather the bounty of the harvest and share with those who need our help. We reap as we have sown; what work remains to be done that we can do? November – As days become colder and nights grow longer, who needs shelter from the cold or the darkness? This month, turn your generous attention to assist and support local shelters and clinics, senior home repair, winter coat drives, home heating programs. And don’t forget to buy an extra Thanksgiving turkey for the food bank. December – Peace on earth, good will among nations. During this month of joyful traditions, giftgiving and celebration, may we remember that we all belong to the Family of Humanity. May our gifts and holiday gatherings embrace the community of our beloved ones and the community of brothers and sisters who need our care. In the words of George Bernard Shaw: I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community. And as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for a short moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations. I am certain that if I complete at least one philanthropic practice per month from this “annual plan” I will have had a very good year! Shall we compare notes in December?
with Remedies Day Spa By Naomi Morrison Photos by Amanda Wilson Photography
Created on the fabric of invigorating the body, Remedies Day Spa offers a warm, inviting and friendly atmosphere and extends pampering to all who patron. A young partnership, Michelle Thesing and Edmond Tucker have created a fresh beginning with a new product line and ingredient modifications in existing products. What hasn’t changed is the relaxing services provided by the incredible staff. a massage therapist, she dipped into the benefits of oils, herbs and other makings and gave her creations to friends and family. Remedies skin care product line, Spa Appetit, has a new formula specially designed with ingredients best for the body. The hope is to have a world-wide market out of the downtown Whitefish retail shop and For a long time, Michelle, 26, has wanted a rea- spa. So far so good. After only a couple months son to stay in Montana. She has lived in the state on the market, a recent purchase was out of the on and off for seven years and officially moved UK. to Whitefish in August after the purchase of the spa. While Michelle is the new face, Edmond “This is definitely something I enjoy,” she said, takes a back seat due to his business traveling. “and finding Remedies was perfect. I’ve “Montana is really precious to me. Whitefish is been making skin-care products for friends growing, and there is a lot of opportunity,” Mi- and family for years, and now I can share my chelle said. “With this business, I now have a passion and skill with so many more people.” hand to give others opportunity.” In addition to developing the skin care products, Creating skin care products became an intricate a goal is to have a greater presence by adding part of Michelle’s gift giving many years ago. As more spa locations. Right now, Remedies Day “Customers are excited with the spas transformation,” Michelle said. “And the staff has been absolutely phenomenal. They all really care about this place and are supportive of and happy with the changes. They create the environment for our customers. Without them, we wouldn’t be successful.”
Spa can be found at Whitefish Mountain Resort, Grouse Mountain Lodge, Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier, a Dude Ranch on Flathead Lake and downtown Whitefish. The owners are also working with the Bar W Ranch in Whitefish creating itinerary’s specific for the women’s groups that stay at the ranch. Working with lodging facilities in this capacity is a niche they look forward to satisfying.
“The existing business looked fun, unique and very well put together,” Michelle said. “Having gone to other spas for my personal self, I never saw anything set up quite like this one. I’m excited to be a part of this community and be in northwest Montana. There’s a really lot to offer.” All the different locations offer different menus that include services and specialties such as massage, pedicures and manicures, facials, wraps and skin care products for purchase. The down-
“Montana is really precious to me. Whitefish is growing, and there is a lot of opportunity,” Michelle said. “With this business, I now have a hand to give others opportunity.” Corinne Bludworth, manager Along with other partners, Michelle and Edmond also are developing another product called Kamala. The definition in Tibetan means Lotus flower, a vision of growth. The name was It’s a huge undertaking owning their first busi- ideal for the product line, which is already ness, she said, and it’s been a great learning flourishing quickly on their internet stores. The experience. Michelle commented on how they first item is soap and later facial lotions and have experienced every hiccup imaginable, but scrubs will be added. To be as environmentally friendly as possible, the box design will have at the end of the day it all has worked out. flower seeds in the paper stock so customers Slowly, they are gaining pace with con- can plant the wrapping and witness further necting and establishing relationships with beauty from the products they purchase. Montana farmers. What’s in store for the products created at Remedies? The goal World travelers, both Michelle and Edmond, 27, is to have all the bees wax from local farms are from Rapid City, South Dakota and served in and a good part of the oils coming from the military. They stumbled upon Remedies Day Spa while looking to purchase a coffee shop to producers in Montana. take advantage of Michelle’s experience manag“Being involved in the community is a big ing one in Missoula. But after looking at the spa, transformation for Remedies,” said Michelle. they both realized that this business celebrated “We’d rather buy from local farmers and busi- more of who they are and how they wanted to contribute to their community. nesses to support the tight-knit community.” town spa also offers these services to youth. All Remedies locations provide discounts to locals and Veterans.
Michelle may have settled down in Whitefish, but her heart will always yearn to travel. All of her family lives in South Dakota. She’s the oldest of a sister and brother. In her past travels, she’s taken her mother backpacking through Europe, and she’s lived on an island off of Honduras. Her eyes are on visiting Greece and/or going to a hot air balloon festival. Of course she would like to be on a hot air balloon.
You can find Michelle anywhere outdoors walking with her English Mastiff, Betty Paige. She likes shooting guns and is learning how to ski this winter. This summer she wants to learn to paddleboard and you can find her fishing or being on any lake. For all the services, location phone numbers and current location menus, visit Remedies Day Spa at www.remediesdayspa.com.
Wheelie Creative Design an adventure entrepreneur successfully blending work and play
We had the opportunity to chat with Lisa Slagle with Wheelie Creative Design. She’s an inspiring entrepreneur who makes it her business to help other businesses succeed. Tell us about Wheelie Creative Design:
Wheelie Creative is a creative agency in Whitefish. We specialize in developing brands with story, design, and imagination. This includes everything from logos to websites to digital strategy and video. We tend to work with companies in the outdoor industry who understand the importance of good design and branding and want to take their businesses to the next level. I’m the creative director, and I have Pete Francisco building websites, Cole Cano doing production design, Amanda Guy accounting managing our non-profit work, and Jess Downing media buying for us. It’s a small, very solid crew, and I feel quite lucky to have such talented employees at my side.
We offer design a la carte, full branding packages, small business start-up packages, and a yearlong digital strategy and design program called The Wheelie Local Project. Any company who signs up for the Wheelie Local Project gets a year’s worth of design, digital strategy, and content writing to launch their business to the next level. They also get to select a non-profit in the valley to be the recipient of 10 hours/month
Photo by Green Kat Photography
of free graphic design via an internship program we created with FVCC students. It is a tremendously successful program.
Why did you decide to open your own company?
I originally started freelancing from the mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado and snowboarded during the day and designed when the lifts stopped spinning. Eventually I ran out of business—that town is one square mile with less than 2,000 residents—so I moved to Salt Lake City where I was a photo editor for backcountry.com. I realized big city life wasn’t for me, and moved to Montana three years ago knowing that Whitefish would be the spot to go all-in with a creative agency and grow my company.
How long have you been in business?
Technically since 2009, but in Whitefish since 2012 (when I moved to the valley).
What is your degree in?
BFA (Bachelor Fine Arts) Graphic Design and Minor in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Colorado State University.
What are your recreational and personal interests?
Snowboarding, mountain biking, skateboarding, adventures with my dog, and filming and editing short videos.
I also teach a few graphic design classes at FVCC every semester. This semester I’m teaching Final Portfolio and Illustration 2.
What are you passionate about?
I love blending work and play. I think that in the creative industry, this is extremely important to keeping that fire, or passion, behind my business. I believe in letting my passions guide my business decisions. I get to snowboard a few hours every single day and still work 40 hours a week, and I feel very fortunate to live in a town where I can run a business and still end up with a pretty good goggle tan by the end of the season. We tend to work with like-minded “adventure entrepreneurs.” I believe that inspiration and perspective come from living adventurously, testing yourself, and connecting with people. So I bring that into my business as much as I can.
My clients are the people who make my job worth it. When we launch a campaign that brings them business or build a website that makes their business run more smoothly, we know we’re succeeding. Our clients’ success is our success.
Branding is such a buzzword these days – how does good branding help a business?
It helps people recognize your business and want to support it, but a huge thing people don’t realize is that brands are the most sustainable asset of any company. Products can fail or become outdated. Employees come and go. Businesses are bought and sold. But a solid, powerhouse branding strategy will carry through all these changes and keep your business afloat. It’s amazing what design and branding can do.
How does good design help a business?
Design solves problems, which I think is really cool. It doesn’t just sell products— it’s very utilitarian. Design helps people understand complicated information, find information online, or know where to go and how to get there. Because design is such a powerful tool, we always try to use it for good, to impact the Flathead Valley in a positive way. That’s why we work with so many local businesses and non-profits—to help them grow and succeed and tell their stories. It’s exciting stuff.
What is your favorite thing about owning your business?
My favorite thing about owning a business is that I get to live in a community of extremely awesome business owners. Montana is full of people with great ideas and companies, and it’s exciting to work with entrepreneurs that are creative, passionate, and adventurous. I also love that my commercial work has heart. I get to tell the stories of some really cool companies, and I invest myself into every project.
What is your least favorite thing?
It’s so much math, but luckily, I have a terrific accountant named Cora Arnold. And sometimes I work way too many hours a week. Or I can’t turn my brain off at night and find myself planning out projects at 3am, like a weirdo.
As a service business, explain how you feel when you help a client achieve their goals?
My clients are the people who make my job worth it. When we launch a campaign that
brings them business or build a website that makes their business run more smoothly, we know we’re succeeding. Our clients’ success is our success.
What are your plans for future?
We are never complacent. That’s how we stay creative and innovative. We are launching some small business design workshops in the spring, so that is going to be very cool for local business owners. We are integrating way more video into our projects. We are always learning and trying new things. I go to a lot of design conferences. We plan on continuing to grow, land awesome clients, and if we hit all our goals this year, I’m taking my employees heliskiing.
Give Lisa and her team a call to help your business grow! Wheelie Creative Design 144 2nd Street East #302 Whitefish, MT 59937 406-862-1440 www.wheeliecreative.com email@example.com
By Jill Seigmund Photos by Taylor Brooke Photography
Giving Children the Early Edge Nationally renowned entrepreneur knack for bringing out the best in a two-year One of Box’s favorite things to do is to take
Willo O’Brien claims the recipe for success contains three ingredients: 1. What you love; 2. What comes easily to you; and 3. What pays you well. According to O’Brien, when these three things are swirled together, the result is sweeter than any dessert.
Early childhood education champion Collette Box is a woman who loves her job as the director of Discovery Developmental Center, a non-profit preschool and childcare facility in Kalispell. Box began working at Discovery in 1992, shortly after she graduated with an associate’s degree in early education from Flathead Valley Community College. Over the past 23 years she has worked with thousands of toddlers and preschoolers and as the parents of those children can confirm, Box is very good at what she does. She seems to have an innate
old and preparing a four-year-old for the transition to kindergarten.
Accredited through the prestigious National Association for the Education of Young Children, Discovery Developmental Center emphasizes the importance of helping children to learn how to play with others and manage their own behavior in a group setting. “Children are not born with these skills and must be taught them purposefully,” according to Box.
slow walks with children. “A half block can take an hour if you let the child lead,” she says.
So back to O’Brien’s recipe for success… Box clearly has the first two ingredients nailed: She loves her work, and it comes easily to her. The third ingredient is problematic. Historically, the people we entrust to care for our young children while we are at work receive poverty-level wages. Although Box went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and has two decades of She gets excited about the process of practical experience, she and her colleagues teaching toddlers how to dress themselves across the nation are simply not regarded to go outside in the winter. All those on the same professional level as K-12 snowsuits, hats, mittens, and boots would educators. intimidate most people, but not Box and her staff. By spring time, the children are pros Their paychecks tend to be smaller and they at getting themselves ready to go outside. often receive little or no benefits, despite “Come April, they don’t know what to do the fact that there is undeniable evidence when we tell them they don’t need to put on that 90 percent of brain development occurs before age five. The foundation for their snow pants,” she laughs.
our social, emotional, behavioral and cognitive skills is established before we enter kindergarten. “It’s really difficult to undo what is learned between birth and age six,” says Box. Consider this…. according to Early Edge Montana, at-risk children who are exposed to certain physical and emotional stresses at home and who do not participate in high-quality early education programs are:
25% more likely to drop out of school 40% more likely to become a teen parent 50% more likely to be placed in special education 60% more likely to never attend college 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime For every dollar invested in early childhood education programs, it is estimated that communities see a $7 to $9 return
on their investment through a combination of increased economic activity and savings on social programs and services.
While Box and her colleagues are never likely to be paid “well” according to O’Brien’s standards, there is hope that someday their successors will be paid a livable wage for the important work they do. Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock announced last year that improving access to high-quality early childhood education will be one of his primary objectives while he is in office. Box gets emotional when asked how it feels to have someone as influential as the governor recognize the importance of early childhood education. “We’ve been working so long to help people understand why early childhood education is important,” she says. “Gov. Bullock came in with early childhood education on his mind. He gets it.” Bullock’s Early Edge program proposes to make voluntary, high-quality early childhood education available to every Montana four-year-old. Through Bullock’s proposal, block grants would be available to every Montana public school
90 percent of brain development occurs before age five. The foundation for our social, emotional, behavioral and cognitive skills is established before we enter kindergarten. “It’s really difficult to undo what is learned between birth and age six,” says Box. district to create or expand high-quality early childhood education programs in their community. School districts would have the option of creating a new program or partnering with an existing early childhood education program.
Exactly what Early Edge would look like in the Flathead Valley and other communities remains to be seen as early childhood educators and school district officials work out the details. Box is optimistic that whatever shakes out, it will raise the bar for early childhood education standards everywhere within the state. And with that higher bar, college students contemplating whether to pursue a degree in early childhood education may be assured that they will be able to do what they love, do it well, and pay their bills to boot. Jill Seigmund is the entrepreneurship coordinator at Flathead Valley Community College, working under a U.S. Department of Labor grant. She can be reached at 7563834 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Redefines Retirement By Nancy Dewar Nearly 20 years ago Greg Gianforte and his wife, Susan, moved to Bozeman (with three young kids in tow) from the East Coast. Having sold his software company, Brightwork, they were looking forward to raising their children in our wonderful state. At this time Greg was only 33. Though he loved to hunt and fish, he often thought there had to be something more purposeful to do. Knowing that he didn’t want his tombstone to simply read, “really liked to hunt and fish,” he decided to start a global business here in Montana. Hence, the beginning of RightNow Technologies, a software company they started out of a guest bedroom. “Many people said it couldn’t be done…a global company out of Bozeman. But I knew that the internet had removed geography in terms of business.” Fast forward to now, 2015. The Gianforte’s did build an amazing global business right here in Montana and sold it to Oracle in 2012 for $1.8 billion! Along their incredible, determined and passionate journey, the Gianforte’s created over 1,000 jobs and paid about $1 billion in wages over their fifteen years of business. The average wage at RightNow was $86,000, two and one-half times the state’s average. I asked Greg about their willingness to pay higher than normal Montana wages and the impact on the local economy. Greg easily explained, “At RightNow Technologies if we didn’t pay a national wage, we couldn’t keep our qualified staff. Pure and simple. Our wages strongly impacted the Bozeman area, as when a dollar comes into the community it tends to bounce at least two to three times. Our employees bought homes… real estate agents and builders benefited…they bought new cars…and so forth. It is simply a snowball effect.” Following the sale of RightNow Technologies, Greg retired in what may be thought of as an untypical retirement style for most entrepreneurs! His new “retirement” ventures are so broad, impactful and important to Montana; it’s hard to know where to even start! His initiative Better Montana Jobs (www.BetterMontanaJobs) is the overall umbrella of his focused initiatives and best encapsulates Greg’s newest endeavors. His primary goal with this program (and most of the others he is involved with) is to create worthwhile livelihoods in Montana, which ranks No. 49 in the US in pay scale. Greg and Susan are truly motivated by how blessed their family has been here and simply want to give back and empower people. With so many amazing assets here, they feel that we, as a state, can do better employment-wise.
When asked about the overall goal of Better Montana Jobs, Greg explained, “We’ve got to create jobs in the industries that pay…technology, natural resources and manufacturing. I don’t think our kids should have to pick between living in Montana or moving away to get a good job. What we are missing in Montana is the high-wage cylinders in our economic engine. We love tourists to visit, but the jobs created by this sector are seasonal and lower wages.” Hightech and manufacturing has been the primary focus of Better Jobs Montana and natural resources is probably next, with our state’s vast supply.
Education is a key factor in garnering higher wages in the state. Technology is one of the top-paying professional fields, and I was shocked at the statistics I learned from Greg. Between Montana State University, the University of Montana and Montana Tech, there were only 40 graduates with a degree in Computer Science in 2013 and a need of 400+ in terms of open jobs in the state! Greg began talking to young people and learned that their perception of a Computer Science degree was “only for people that wanted to write games.” Hence, he spearheaded “CodeMontana,” and was instrumental in developing MSU’s “Joy & Beauty of Computing” and “Looney the Robot” programs to address this opportunity.
The purpose of these programs, initially funded by the Gianforte Family Foundation, is to encourage more young people to pursue a degree in Computer Science. Looney is a custom, programmable robot created by Hunter Lloyd, a robotics professor at MSU. Hunter and Looney make presentations at fifty high schools each year to help inspire students to pursue degrees in Computer Science. CodeMontana is a free interactive program that encourages Montana high school students to pursue Computer Science in college. Over 1,200 students participated in the program the first year. MSU’s Computer Science enrollment is up substantially since the launch of CodeMontana, and they now have between 300 and 325 students in their program. The Joy & Beauty of Computing is a course developed by John Paxton, professor and department head of MSU’s Computer Science Department that has been adapted for high schools to expose students to computing in an engaging manner. Additionally, Greg and Susan’s Gianforte Family Foundation introduced and provided the initial $4.5 million in funding to start the ACE Scholarship program in 2012, which is modeled after a similar program in Denver. These scholarships, of approximately $2,000 each, are awarded to low income families throughout the state so children may attend the school of their choice. Over $1 million has since been raised by the private sector. To date, ACE has provided funds for over 700 students, and there are 350 children on a waiting list. The benefit of these scholarships is the fact that children have access to the education that best suits their needs and are not constrained by their zip code.
“We’ve got to create jobs in the industries that pay… technology, natural resources and manufacturing. I don’t think our kids should have to pick between living in Montana or moving away to get a good job. What we are missing in Montana is the highwage cylinders in our economic engine. We love tourists to visit, but the jobs created by this sector are seasonal and lower wages.” While speaking with Greg, he explained more about the impact of Computer Science degrees to the Montana economy. “High tech creates jobs for people of all stripes… for everyone. 10% of a technology company is the geeks, and then all of other jobs are in operations, finance, sales, marketing, etc. However, the geeks are the seed in creating these new companies.” In conjunction with the President of Carroll College in Helena, Greg created the Growing Entrepreneurs program, a new initiative for the 2014-15 school year that brings together multidisciplinary student teams around entrepreneurial projects. The goal is to expose students to real-world practical instruction in the formation and advancement of new business ventures. Greg is serving as Carroll College Entrepreneur in Residence for the 2014-2015 school year. The program kicked off last fall with 12 teams, and as of December three of the businesses created by participants had already generated revenue. Greg stated, “This is not a business plan program but rather a business start-up program. In Lewis & Clark County, where Carroll College is located, 80% of wages are from government jobs. There is little private sector business there. And government consumes wealth. It doesn’t create it. New businesses create jobs and wealth. This program helps with the creation of new businesses.”
Greg was also instrumental in creating the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, a business-led initiative to help hightech companies create highpaying jobs in Montana. When the organization was founded in April 2014; their goal was to reach fifty members. As of January 2015, their ranks have already swelled to 130 member firms in the technology and manufacturing segments. The benefits of the organization include networking, increased visibility as well as recruiting with access to their online jobs portal, which presently has about 60 open job listings.
Another key initiative developed and seeded by Greg and the Gianforte Family Foundation is Bootstrap Montana MicroLoan program. Established in 2007, it loans funds to Montana entrepreneurs who embrace the business development philosophy of 'bootstrapping'—or growing a company without the aid of outside (equity) investment capital. This program helps to create jobs by providing Montana entrepreneurs with 0% loans for projects, which will provide fast return on investment. Funds are targeted for projects that have a direct effect on increasing sales. The program increases the level of employment in the state, brings new sales revenue into the state and increases the competitiveness of Montana companies. Bootstrap Montana was modeled after a similar Micro-Loan program in India and also the philosophy ties into the book Greg wrote and published in 2007 entitled “Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company With Almost No Money.” “What I propose is so different than business schools. Business schools prepare people to work in big corporations. I help prepare people to start their own business. With big companies it is necessary to do lots of risk analysis because of the amount of dollars being invested. With small companies, throw some things against a wall and see what sticks.” This bootstrapping approach has been used by Greg in all of his business ventures. He started his first software company while in high school when he realized it was way easier than cutting lawns, which he’d done in junior high! During college he ran a team of developers for an outside company. Following college, Greg spent three years at Bell Labs in New Jersey where he met his wife, Susan, at the donut table during a blood donation. Three years later he left and started Brightwork, a software development company. He and his partner grew it to employ 75 people, and it was purchased in 1994 by McAfee. Greg ran McAfee’s North American sales operations for a few years and then the Gianforte’s moved to Montana where they then started RightNow Technologies. When RightNow launched there wasn’t even a product; simply an idea. Greg applied his 3-Part Business plan theory in creating this idea.
Part-1: Which business is next? He knew it would be software. Part-2: The largest opportunity in business occurs when something is changing. In my case it was the internet. Part-3: Pick a process that provides an essential service. Hence, RightNow Technologies was created to develop “internet software for businesses in customer service.” Before developing the actual product that would allow customer service departments to interact directly with customers from their websites instead of emails, Greg got on the phone and started talking to people to find out what they wanted, explaining that his new product would be available in 90 days. From insight gained by these calls, he was able to fine-tune the software and had
40 paying customers before hiring the first employee! In the early days Greg managed the software development and sales, and Susan managed operations, facilities and the financials. There is a sign in Greg’s office that states, “Nothings happens till someone sells something.” Using his bootstrapping approach Greg was selling to customers prior to actually having a product. Greg states, “It’s amazing what you can do with a singular vision.” And with his singular vision and amazing leadership skills, he grew RightNow Technologies to a company that reached $225 million in annual revenue prior to selling to Oracle. He told me that when they reached their first $1 million in sales, he bought all employees a pair of underwear (“well, kind of like gym shorts”) that had “I feel like a million bucks” imprinted on them. He presented them at
a company gathering and read a poem he’d written that ended with “and now onto $100 million!” When they reached $100 million in sales, more pairs were distributed accompanied by another poem that ended with “and now onto a billion.” The next batch read, “and now on to $10 billion! Greg told me that he feels the biggest impediment to better jobs here is skepticism. He often hears people say, “That was okay for Bozeman, but it can’t happen here.” What he wants people to know is, “Hey guys, we CAN do this! In order to raise wages, we simply need to identify obstacles, remove them and be a positive voice for change.” Monica Remely was the 90th employee at RightNow and was involved in numerous areas of the business development, marketing and PR over the years. She had extensive direct interaction with Greg because the company was so small at that point. When I asked Monica her experience of working with Greg, she summed up his many talents and characteristics quickly and succinctly. “I always appreciated his straight-forwardness and how he tells it like it is. He was always clear in what he expected from us. This helped all of us be more successful. Early on he told us that whatever piece of the business you are working on, treat it as if it’s your business.” When asked about his new endeavors, Monica said, “When I think of retirement, I think of kicking back on a sandy beach! Some people, given Greg’s opportunity, would have just retired. He retired but now is investing his time to help make Montana an even greater place. He is passionate about helping people succeed, realize their dreams and clarify what they are trying to do.” Nicole Hagerman Miller, Managing Director of Biomimicry 3.8 based in Missoula, has the ongoing pleasure of Greg’s mentorship to assist her in growing this relatively new start-up. I asked her what makes Greg such a great mentor. “His willingness to share all of his experiences. He has grown several businesses. He is so gracious with his time. He gives constructive feedback and guidance. He also has great advice to me as an individual, stressing that I need to think about me as well as the company. Greg is so dedicated to helping Montana entrepreneurs and doesn’t
want our proximity to be limiting to what we can accomplish.” Greg holds an M.S. degree in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology, and Susan holds an M.B.A. from NYU. Their four children were all National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists. Their oldest son Richard went to Cal Tech and now works at Microsoft and is also a trustee of the Gianforte Family Foundation. Second-son David went to MSU for a Computer Science degree and works in Bozeman at Oracle. Adam is a senior at Cornell studying Linguistics; and Rachel, their youngest, is currently studying Computer Science at Stanford. About his kids, Greg proudly stated, “They are wonderful young people!” Greg and Susan live just outside of Bozeman on some acreage with their horses.
Since the sale of their company to Oracle, both Greg and Susan believe that it’s now all about giving back. The time they both commit to important initiatives, coupled with the very generous financial support provided by the Gianforte Family Foundation, are proof that these two individuals certainly walk their talk. In wrapping up our conversation, Greg summed his mission up by saying, “Traditionally a lot of economic development has focused on a white knight opening a huge plant here. We need to create our own companies right here in Montana. I believe businesses should be about good stewardship…to use our power of work to serve other people. Work is inherently invigorating and worthwhile.” And the work that Greg Gianforte is now doing in his “retirement” is inherently invigorating, worthwhile and of enormous value and benefit to our very special state. He is taking the meaning of “good stewardship” to an entirely new level.
Calling All Angels
Three Agencies, Three Missions and Three Women
With a Shared Passion Written by Glenna Wortman-Obie, Intermountain Director of Communication
Three extraordinary women,
Dee Incoronato, Mary Bryan and Jamie Campbell, first gathered in a small, stuffy room last summer making early plans for a December women’s event called “Calling All Angels,” that would raise awareness about the plight of children in need of foster and adoptive parents. Though each is a leader in one of three separate non-profit agencies— Intermountain, Child Bridge and CASA--it was clear their passion was shared and they were there to undertake a unique effort for children in the Flathead Valley.
When it comes to the needs of vulnerable children, Dee Incoronato has been a crusader for many years. “I got involved with Intermountain as a Board member about 13 years ago,” she says, “and I just got further and further into it as I saw how successful Intermountain was in meeting the needs of children and families in our communities.” She now serves as the agency’s Chief Strategy Officer and senior staff in the Flathead. Intermountain was founded in Helena, Montana, in 1909 as a home and school for children whose parents could not care for them. The home has had a number of names and programs over its 105 year history, but the place now known as Intermountain has cared for children continuously for all that time and continues to operate both a residential care center and an outpatient community services clinic in Helena.
“Our focus is building awareness and recruiting families for children in need within churches,” says Bryan, who is the Operations Director. “We do this from the pulpit, lobby displays and informational meetings and then we work with churches to support the families by utilizing the natural infrastructure of the church.” Bryan emphasizes that Child Bridge is not an adoption or child placing agency but rather, partners with families on what can be a complicated and challenging journey.
Jamie Campbell is Executive Director of Flathead’s chapter of Court Appointed Child Advocates, called CASA for Kids of Flathead County, the third non-profit agency in the triune. CASA empowers everyday citizens as appointed members of the court to assure that abused and neglected children don’t slip through the cracks of the overburdened social welfare system. CASA recruits, trains, supervises, and supports volunteers who are appointed by judges to advocate for until they find safety, permanence and an opportunity to thrive.
Partnering is part of the CASA makeup, according to Campbell. “We do nothing of ourselves. We work at the request and by appointment of the court – but the facilitation of services for our children comes only through the combined efforts of social workers, service providers, foster families, biological famiIn the Flathead, the agency is building anoth- lies.” So, that is the very quality she wanted er residential care facility, Providence Home to emphasize in the partnership with Interand has a clinic at 322 2nd Avenue West in mountain and Child Bridge. Kalispell offering youth case management, home support services, individual and family In fact, the event was hugely successful with therapy, afterschool and summer support and nearly 350 attending to hear nationally recfoster care and adoption services. ognized speaker and author, Ashley RhodesCourter, a former foster child who was later Mary Bryan and her husband, Steve, adopted, tell her compelling story of her jourlaunched Child Bridge just four years ney and that of thousands of other children ago. Child Bridge is a faith based, non- lingering in the foster care system. Rhodesprofit that seeks to create awareness Courter, most recognized for her memoir, of the need for families to foster and Three Little Words, is a life-long advocate for adopt children from the Montana fos- foster children. Her message seemed to be reflected in the mission of the three agencies. ter care system.
The agencies agreed, early on, to key messaging that boils down to three things:
A child without a loving, permanent family is a slow-moving tragedy. While not everyone can be a foster or adoptive parent, an advocate, or make a large financial contribution, everyone can understand, get involved, make it personal and help find solutions.
The three strong agencies have separate and distinct missions but will have a bigger impact by working together for the sake children and the community.
The focus should not be on the past, or on blame, or on failure. The focus must be on the needs of the children and the commitment of individuals to help create a better future for every child. “Our hope for the event was that it would create women warriors for kids in need,” said Bryan. I’ve heard very positive comments about the tea . . . and the phrase that I have heard most often is that it is so good to see collaboration between agencies.” “This was a grand experiment and an innovative way to approach a fundraiser,” Campbell said.
“We do feel the community embraced this idea of integration and collaboration of these three non-profits,” Incoronato says now. “The reality is, it does take a village to tackle this issue.” There is still plenty of opportunity to join in the effort by contacting: Intermountain at email@example.com or by calling 406-871-2393; Child Bridge at childbridgemontana.org or phone 406-837-2247; or CASA at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 406-755-7208.
Applying for a Mortgage?
Here’s What You Need to Know Written by Sonia Hansen, CPA
It’s the start of a new year; a time for reflection of the past year and planning for the one ahead. I will admit I’m one of those people who pull out the pad and pencil New Year’s Day and eagerly write a list of what I hope to accomplish in the coming year. Sometimes it’s a long list with small goals; sometimes it’s short with big goals. This year, it’s a bit of a mix. There is a smattering of small goals, and there is one very big one. A goal so big, it looms on my list, dwarfing all the others: BUY A HOUSE. Looking at houses and imagining myself in one is the fun part; figuring out what I can afford and thinking about a mortgage, not so fun. However, it is essential to be an informed and prepared buyer. This issue, we look at the important things to keep in mind when taking that big step to homeownership.
Obtain your credit score
It is imperative to know what you are working with as you start the process. It is also important to note that the FICO credit score formula has been updated for the first time in six years. It is unclear when the new score, FICO 9, will be rolled out and used by all lenders, but the restructured scoring methodology incorporates a new risk-predicting model that does a better job of identifying low and high credit risks. The formula will now drop collection agency accounts that are paid in full or settled. Additionally the formula will differentiate medical debt from other debt types. Medical debt is the most common type of debt in the country, and as it is not tied to mismanagement of finances but rather a result of life situations, the new
scoring formula will reduce the negative impact of medical debt on the credit score. The new formula will also place more weight on unpaid debts, making these more damaging to credit scores. Don’t expect a bad credit score to be transformed into a great credit score with the changes; only a twenty-five-point jump is the max increase expected with the new formula.
Meet with a mortgage officer before looking at homes
Doing so will help you identify any problems with your credit that need to be solved before buying a home. Meeting with a mortgage officer will also let you know exactly how much house you can afford before you start your search. Meeting with a mortgage officer will also give you an opportunity to think of how you want your financing to be set up. For example, most, but not all, lenders require an escrow account to pay certain property related costs such as property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. If your loan does not include an escrow account, you are in charge of these costs yourself. You may want to voluntarily sign up for an escrow account to
make it easier to pay large property related bills in smaller amounts on a monthly basis.
Pay off as much debt as you can
When considering taking you on as a borrower, lenders look at your income and all of your debts, such as car loans, student loans, and credit card debt. Your debt to income ratio is a good indicator to lenders as to your ability to pay – are you stretched too thin or can you handle the extra cost of owning a home? According to the Federal Housing Administration, if your total debt including a house payment is more than fortythree percent of your income, it is unlikely that you will get a loan. Lenders often want a lower ratio and the lower default risk that comes with it.
If you can’t pay off debt before buying a house, consider consolidating or refinancing your debt, such as student loans, to reduce the amount of debt you have. Decide whether or not it makes sense for your financial situation and life plan to stretch loan payments over more years to be able to buy a house sooner.
Develop good credit habits
This one is pretty easy: pay your bills and pay them on time. Missing payments or paying them late can lower your credit score, and make borrowing for a home extremely difficult, and more expensive. If a bill goes to a collection agency, it can take months or years for your credit score to recover from the damage. Some not so good credit habits to avoid when applying for a mortgage: buying on credit or applying for credit while your loan is pending. You might be tempted to buy that couch for your new living room or seal the deal on that car loan, but resist! Messing with your credit during this time may jeopardize the mortgage contract.
Show a solid work history
It is important for lenders to see consistency in your work history, as this translates into consistent income, and a consistent ability to pay bills. Now, if you just graduated from school and landed your first job related to your new degree, a lender may be more lenient on the fact that you haven’t
worked for 2 years yet. If you’ve just graduated and are now working part-time at a fast food chain, a lender may be a bit more cautious in granting you a loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The same goes if you are self-employed. Self-employed individuals generally don’t qualify for a mortgage unless they have been in business for at least 2 years. There are exceptions to this general rule of thumb if you are a professional, such as a doctor or lawyer, moving from a staff position to a self-employed position in the same field. A special note if you are self-employed: lenders generally consider your net income, not your gross income, when evaluating your financial situation. You may want to seek advice from your tax professional if this situation applies to you.
TIP 6: Shop around
When looking into getting a mortgage, make sure to consider all of your lending options, including different lenders. Not all lenders offer the same loans, and there are a lot of different products in the market, so be sure to compare apples to apples when shopping around. Compare different closing agents too. Sometimes you can save thousands on the closing costs of documentation prep, legal fees, and title insurance by choosing a different agent.
Be prepared to show documentation Lenders are going to want to verify a lot about your financial situation to evaluate your ability to pay and potential default risk. They will want to see at least: · Most recent 1 month’s worth of paystubs * e.g. If you are paid every 2 weeks, you need to bring 2 pay stubs · Most recent 2 years of W-2s from your employer(s) · Most recent 3 months of bank, investment, or brokerage statements · Most recent tax return filed Lenders will likely want to review this information once at the beginning of the loan process, and again right before the deal closes.
Make sure you have the cash
In addition to closing costs, you will need to be able to pay for a home inspection, an appraisal, a survey, and state, city, or local transfer taxes. Most lenders will want a year’s worth of homeowners’ insurance and property taxes up front as well. The big chunk of cash you need to have is for the down payment. While there are many
different interpretations of what amount is the “right amount” to put down, a good rule of thumb is twenty percent. While there is not a hard and fast rule that twenty percent is the absolute minimum required, if you pay less than that you have to pay for private mortgage insurance. What this means is that the lender is requiring you to pay the mortgage insurance, which increases overall costs. Simply put, the less money put down means higher monthly payments and potentially higher interest rates. There are some new developments now in play for down payment requirements. Effective December 1, 2014, a new rule from the Federal Housing Association allows mortgagors to borrow ninety-seven dollars for every one-hundred dollars of house purchased; that means a house can be bought with only 3 percent money down! Now while this makes it easier for many to get a mortgage, it also increases the chance of mortgage defaults. With so little down, a mere 3 percent shift in the value of the home could put the borrower underwater – in fact, borrowers could be underwater the minute they sign the papers due to closing costs. This rule is intended to help first time homebuyers get into that first home and create stability in the banking industry, but it also creates highly leveraged loans for the borrowers. Loans with between 3 and 10 percent down are at a forty-five percent greater risk of default. And unlike the highly leveraged banks of 2008, the catalyst of the financial crisis, there is no government bailout for the highly leveraged homeowners. Applying for a mortgage can seem like an overwhelming task. Even though it cannot alleviate all the stress that comes with borrowing money for a home, being informed and knowing what to expect can make the process a little less intimidating.
This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only, it is not intended to act as professional advice. If you have additional questions, contact JCCS, PC in Whitefish at (406)862-2597 or Kalispell at (406)755-3681.
Adding a New Team Member:
Project Rosie be SMART & HEALTHY Written by Susan B. Clarke
I want to start with a personal story. Why? Because for small business owners, it’s often the personal stuff that plays the most havoc with the bottom-line. New Team Member
Rosie Arrives Home in Whitefish
In this case, we added a new member to our team this holiday season. We brought Since we brought Rosie home, another side of life (or business) besides being home a new puppy. She’s a Sheepadoodle: part Old English sheepdog and part SMART has been much more dominant. poodle. Rosie will be big at some point, but right now she’s just a small mess of What is the other side? We call it the HEALTHY side, when human dynamics fur and energy! get stirred up because of a new foreign element in the mix. As a new project, Rosie is a significant investment in our time. That’s why I’m writNo matter how great a team is in terms of being SMART, meaning skilled and ing about her. You see, Rosie has been in our plans for a while. prepared in all the right functions – finance, operations, strategy, marketing, etc. – This past year, we lost the dog we’d had for almost fifteen years, and we’ve been the people side (or, with Rosie, the puppy side) will create chaos. thinking about what type of dog we might want next. Our initial plan was to find Most teams don’t prepare well for that. a mature rescue dog that could easily adjust to our world and rhythms. When it became clear that wasn’t going to happen easily, we started investigating other op- We, at least, knew it was coming. Currently, we’re one week in to Project Rosie. tions and other dog breeds. There have been moments of bliss, moments of frustration, and various team breakdowns in terms of what to do when Rosie doesn’t follow the script as described Be SMART by Cesar or any of those other d*mn puppy books (they all make it seem so easy). In many ways we were quite SMART about the process, meaning we researched behaviors and temperaments. We looked into training options and day care. We This is January in Montana. Two feet of snow took us completely off script. The studied puppy development and found the best training materials online and in the puppy could barely get outside; much less find a regular spot to poop and pee, as valley. When Rosie finally came into the picture, we were ready. recommended in all the books. It’s been wild. Before we went to southern Washington to pick up Rosie, we made sure we had puppy-proofed the house. During the drive, we listened to puppy training tips. We each have different styles in terms of training, and it doesn’t help that at Rosie’s From a SMART perspective, we were set. In other words, we were book-smart and age nothing’s really sinking in yet. She’s a puppy! She chews; she forgets to let us know when she needs to go out. She’s her own unique, living, breathing being. No had a clear strategy for success. book has the perfect formula for dealing with that. In most business scenarios, be it a new product launch or the addition of a new team member, people are usually SMART, meaning they’ve taken the time to pre- So, it’s been messy. We’ve fought over our different strategies for dealing with pare, gotten everything ready for the new product launch or the interviews with Rosie. We’ve dropped our original plans and improvised. We’re not yet through new employees. However, being SMART does not fully prepare you or your team the hardest phase with Rosie, but we’re glad we stopped trying to just be SMART and started also focusing on being HEALTHY. for what comes next.
What do I mean by HEALTHY? Well, there are three key pieces of the HEALTHY side to keep in mind:
Know Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses: I am good with handling whining, but Rosie can at times treat me like a chew toy. My weakness is trying to be the alpha dog. CrisMarie is great at correcting behavior quickly, without a fuss, but she can’t stand the whining. Rosie is smart, very young, has little experience, but is greatly motivated to learn. Know Your Game Plan for Dealing with Team Conflict We call time-out and take it when it’s needed. We put Rosie in her crate or we put ourselves in our respective offices. We do what’s needed to get back to a relaxed and aware state. We take time to fully listen and reflect back our teammate’s ideas, even if we disagree. Remember Your Ultimate Purpose or Goal – Short-Term and Long-Term Short-term: We want Rosie to feel comfortable and safe as a member of the team. Long-term: We want a happy, confident, and obedient adult dog. CrisMarie and I want to have fun and stay engaged in our lives and our work while Rosie grows and develops.
Clarity is Critical for Success Setting up this type of clarity is critical for success. Too often, teams start out SMART, but don’t take the time to make sure they’re ready for the chaos that’s a natural part of any new project or any addition to an intact team. Make your team better before you launch into your next big project or add a new team member, know your team’s strengths and weaknesses, then practice dealing with conflict responsibly and keeping sight of your goals. Be SMART and HEALTHY. I know business isn’t usually about adding a new puppy to your team, but for small business owners it’s often critical to handle the personal interruptions well if you want successful business outcomes. Kids, pets, and elderly family members can add chaos to the best-laid business plans. Don’t fret. Focus on making a plan that’s both SMART and HEALTHY! Susan Clarke is a coach and consultant at thrive! inc. She works with business teams that are stuck in unhealthy conflict, and helps them get real, get clear, get aligned, and produce great business results. She also helps women in leadership confidently find their voice, create relationships that work, and do what matters most. Contact her at email@example.com.
The Federal Estate & Gift Tax Exemptions for 2015
And Why They Might Matter To You By Kelly O’Brien, Attorney at Law
Mary and Thomas are a married couple that own an investment property held in a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Their investment property currently has a fair market value of $500,000, which is significantly more than the $150,000 original purchase price. Mary and Tom want to give the property to their two children without any tax consequences. To accomplish this goal Mary and Tom can either distribute the property upon their death to their children in their will or trust, or give small interests in the property to their children on an annual basis over a period of time. Either way, they need to be mindful of the federal estate and gift taxes and the applicable exemptions. With the start of a new year, the Internal Revenue Service sets out the applicable federal estate and gift exemption amounts for the year. While the estate and gift taxes, applicable exemptions and laws seem to change frequently; the 2015 exemption amounts were only adjusted slightly to account for inflation. Estate Tax Exemption
The I.R.S. has set the 2015 estate tax exemption amount at $5,340,000 per individual. A married couple will receive two individual exemptions, so 34 406
the 2015 exemption per couple will be almost $11 million dollars. First, what is the federal estate tax exemption?
The federal estate tax is the tax paid on the fair market value of your estate. Your “estate” means all of the property you transfer upon your death. This includes all of your real estate and personal property, as well as business interests, cash accounts and all other financial assets. However, your estate for estate tax purposes is your “taxable estate.” Your taxable estate includes your “gross estate,” which includes the fair market value of all of your cash accounts, real estate, business interests, financial assets and personal property, less qualifying deductions. These deductions include items such as estate administration expenses and mortgages, as well as assets passed to your spouse upon your death.
Married couples have the added benefit being able to claim double the exemption amount. In addition, married couples also have the ability to elect to pass any of a deceased spouses unused exemption to the surviving spouse, so long as the exemption is claimed in a timely basis. This means that in 2015 and individual may pass up to $5,340,000 of their taxable estate upon their death to the next generation without any estate taxes, and married couples may pass up to $10,680,000 without estate taxes. Why might it matter to you?
If you own more than $5,340,000 in assets then it is important to work with your tax and legal advisors to determine an estate plan that will provide the most estate tax advantage for your specific situation. There are many mechanisms, such as trusts, that can
While the estate and gift taxes, applicable exemptions and laws seem to change frequently; the 2015 exemption amounts were only adjusted slightly to account for inflation. reduce the amount of estate taxes your heirs will pay upon your death. However, most people look at the number $5.34 million and immediately stop paying attention. For most ordinary people this number is so high that it is hard to imagine owning that amount in assets, much less worrying about having to pay tax on a higher amount. While you may not have to worry about paying estate tax at the current exemption amount, it is still important to understand the federal estate tax exemption, as both your assets and the estate tax exemption amount are subject to change. In the example of Mary and Thomas mentioned above they could effectively transfer their investment property to their children upon their death entirely free of estate taxes in 2015, so long as the value of their investment property, in combination with the value of their estate as a whole does not exceed $10,680,000. Gift Tax Exemption
The I.R.S also announced that the 2015 annual gift tax exclusion amount would remain at $14,000 per year. Gift Tax Explained
The gift tax is the tax paid on “gifts” or transfers of property from one individual to another without receiving compensation in return. This could include cash transfers, as well as transfers of real estate or any other type of asset. A “gift” for purposes of gift tax is a transfer of any type of property without the expectation that you will receive something in return. This means that in 2015 an individual may pass up to $14,000 to another individual without filing a gift tax return. This also means that a married couple can make a combined gift of up to $28,000 to another individual on an annual basis. Why might it matter to you?
While most people will not have to worry about the federal estate tax, many people will give a gift during there lifetime and it is important to understand some basic gift tax principals. If you give a gift of cash or property to any individual in an amount more than $14,000 in 2015, you are required to file a gift tax return.
The gift tax must be paid and reported by the individual giving the gift. The individual receiving the gift does not have to file a return or pay the gift tax. While the individual receiving the gift is not required to pay gift taxes on the gift, that individual may have capital gain tax consequences later. This is because the individual who receives the gift also receives the gift at the donor’s income tax basis as of the date of the gift. As a consequence, an individual that receives a gift of highly appreciated property, will likely have a large capital gain tax obligation upon the sale of the gifted item. Utilization of the gift tax exclusion on an annual basis can be beneficial in transferring business interests or family property, over time, without tax implications if done property. In Mary and Thomas’ situation they could use the gift tax exemption to transfer their investment property during their lifetime. If, for example, they decided they wanted to give each of their two children each a 20% interest without tax consequences. They can accomplish this by each, individually, transferring membership interests in the LLC valued at $14,000 per year (or less) to each of their children for a total of up to $28,000 per year. If they did this over a four-year period, at the end of the four-year period, each of their children will own a 20% interest in the property through the LLC. Mary & Thomas will retain a 60% ownership interest in the property through the LLC valued at $300,000, their children would each obtain a 20% interest valued at $100,000 and no gift tax will be required. This example illustrates some of the advantages and ways in which to utilize the gift tax exemption. However, this is just a very simplified example for illustrative purposes, and every situation is unique and depends on the overall surrounding circumstances. Work with your tax and legal advisors to determine how the federal estate and gift tax exemption amounts might apply to your specific circumstances.
DisclaimerThis article is intended for educational and information purposes only, it is not intended to act as legal or tax advice. For estate planning questions contact Kelly O’Brien, Measure, Sampsel, Sullivan & O’Brien, P.C. at (406) 752-6373/ www.measurelaw.com
Off Key Notes By Bob Hamilton
Ed Note: In a departure from the usual tone of Bob’s column, I would ask you to read this touching tribute to his mom and become informed about lung cancer. I am reminded of the song, “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel (see sidebar) – thank you Bob for sharing your story. On October 21, 2014, my mother Joan died rather suddenly at her home of complications related to lung cancer. She never smoked a day in her life. Mom was a kind and generous woman who possessed a great love for life. Generally, she had taken good care of herself throughout her life, but her courageous fight against her cancer would prove to be a short one. Her life ended a mere 10 weeks after she was given the stunning and devastating news that she had Stage 4 lung cancer. What was a persistent nuisance, a cough and some bothersome pain in her side for a period of time virtually overnight became “three to six months to live.” Her doctor delivered the news rather clinically and coldly. Perhaps she could buy a bit more time if she opted to pursue an aggressive regimen of radiation, chemotherapy and drug treatments and suffer horribly with all the side effects and symptoms that each of these treatments surely would deliver. She declined these treatments preferring to live out the rest of her days on her terms more or less. Our family was very proud of Mom’s decision. My mother created a “bucket list” of sorts with the help of family, but most notably by Mom’s “best friend” who happens to be my sister, Mary. The best friend status between Mom and Mary was always mutual for as long as I can remember.
In the coming weeks, the “bucket list”, consisting mostly of little things that Mom wanted to do, see or experience again, was pursued as aggressively as her condition 36 406
would allow. There were good days, and there were days of great suffering. Living here in the Flathead, it became increasingly difficult to be far away from the situation. I returned to Connecticut in late September to help out my family with Mom’s health needs and work further on her “bucket list”. I spent a week, in hindsight one of the most special and precious times of my life, doing things that she wanted to do----taking the ferry across Long Island Sound and having lunch, visiting a great winery in the northwest hills of Connecticut, exploring the autumn countryside, and singing old Neil Diamond and classic country songs along the way. Most importantly, we talked a great deal about a wide range of topics. She worried about what would happen to us, months hence, after she was gone. What is your father going to do? Your brother? … and on down the line. She had long been the foundation and ultra caregiver our family and was not comfortable with the idea of giving up that role.
of these on the desk in the guestroom where I would stay and write her eulogy during her funeral week. I believe in my heart that Mom left them there specifically for me to find. The first stated simply, “Live each day to the fullest for NOTHING is promised.” On the second in obviously weaker and shakier handwriting, the words “When you are down to nothing, God is up to something.” My guess is that shortly after writing that line my mother found out what God planned for her. Mom is in a better place now.
I saw Mom alive for the last time on October 4th as I headed to the airport. I needed to return to Montana. I promised her that I would see her again for the holidays, and I truly believed I would. It was not to be. Instead, the lung cancer became more aggressive still, and I returned to Connecticut 17 days later to attend to her affairs and deliver her eulogy.
You were right Mom. Nothing is promised. I am still dealing with the swiftness of your departure from this earth.
My mother was always fond of writing down little sayings and quotes on slips of paper, and often, leaving them around for people to find and read. I found two
I am proud of you Mom. I love and miss you desperately. I would give anything to spend another 10 minutes with you sitting on that bench overlooking the Sound, or to receive one more of your weekly phone calls, and to say some of the things that I forgot to say before you left.
In the wake of my mother’s passing, and after doing research into lung cancer and its causes, I was surprised to find out that my mother’s case was like that of many others---a NON-smoker who never suspected that she could have lung cancer and did not find out until it was much too late. Like many lung cancer victims, she exhibited no symptoms until only a short time before her
My mother was always fond of writing down little sayings and quotes on slips of paper, and often, leaving them around for people to find and read. I found two of these on the desk in the guestroom where I would stay and write her eulogy during her funeral week.
death. I was stunned by much of the information and statistics that I found regarding lung cancer and its increasing pervasiveness especially among women. This despite the fact that the number of women who smoke has been declining significantly in the United States for decades. According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is in fact the #1 cancer killer of women in the United States. Over the last ten years, lung cancer killed more women in America than breast cancer and colorectal cancer combined according to the Center for Disease Control, and the slight majority of these lung cancer victims were women who did not smoke. Unfortunately, because of the stigma often attached to lung cancer and its link to smoking, funding for research into the disease and its causes aside from smoking is paltry in comparison to other forms of cancer. There are few, if any, runs or walks or events of any kind to raise lung cancer awareness. There are no football players wearing specifically colored uniform accessories to promote lung cancer awareness during televised games. On the contrary, public awareness is minimal as a majority of people feel that lung cancer is a “self-inflicted”
disease----and perhaps some times it is. I can tell you from my personal experience with my mother that “self inflicted” is not always necessarily the case. Why do women who have not been smokers get lung cancer? Many studies suggest simple genetics and family history as contributing factors. Others suggest exposure to pollutants, second hand smoke, and a myriad of other health factors. In short, it is very often completely unfair to blame the victim when it comes to lung cancer. What can you do? Most importantly, get tested! Smokers and nonsmokers, make a lung x-ray a regular part of your annual medical checkup. Insist on it even if you exhibit no symptoms of deteriorating lung health. Such an x-ray early on might have saved my mother’s life. Secondly, get aware! Additional information is available through the American Lung Association’s Lung Force at www.lungforce. org. Lung force is a national movement to unite women in the fight against lung cancer and for lung health. Join the Lung Force teams led by national spokespersons actress Valerie Harper as well as singers Jewel and Kellie Pickler. Your voice, your support and your passion are all needed to stop lung cancer.
The Sound of Silence By Simon & Garfunkel Hello darkness, my old friend I've come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted In my brain still remains Within the sound of silence In restless dreams, I walked alone Narrow streets of cobblestone 'Neath the halo of a street lamp I turned my collar to the cold and damp When my eyes were stabbed by the flash Of a neon light that split the night And touched the sound of silence And in the naked light I saw Ten thousand people, maybe more People talking without speaking People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices Never shared and no one dared Disturb the sound of silence "Fools", said I, "You do not know Silence like a cancer grows Hear my words that I might teach you Take my arms that I might reach you" But my words, like silent raindrops fell And echoed in the wells of silence And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made And the sign flashed out its warning In the words that it was forming And the sign said, The words of the prophets are written On the subway walls and tenement halls And whispered in the sounds of silence"
Woman of Courage
By Nancy Kimball Photos by Taylor Brooke Photography
Make the choice, then work it
“If you don’t like something,” poet Maya Angelou told us, “change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” LeAnn Speakman didn’t like her reality when, at age 46, she heard the words, “LeAnn, it’s cancer.” So the Kalispell nurse took steps to change it – had the surgeries, went through radiation, changed her lifestyle to lose weight. But the hitch was that her new lifestyle had to include a regular exercise program. She’d rather do just about anything other than head for the gym. That attitude had to go, and she didn’t know how to give it the boot on her own.
Lucky for her, the coaches at Journey to Wellness – a program at The Summit Medical Fitness Center to help people re-balance and move toward healthy living – knew all about that “lack of wanna” and how to help LeAnn dig inside herself to find her own path to healthy. It wasn’t a cakewalk; in fact, it was a lot of hard mental, emotional and physical work.
By July 22, she had come through her surgeries and finished radiation therapy when she walked through the door that was going to blow everything wide open in her life. It was the door to Deb Davis’ office, where she had her first Journey to Wellness mentoring session.
“A lot of times people come in here and are very hard on themselves, they don’t have compassion for themselves,” she said. “Women are so focused on taking care of their families and others. We try to help them see they can take care of themselves now. I call it ‘Me Time.’”
“Deb encouraged me to sit in my craft room, just look at all my projects and choose one thing to start,” LeAnn said. She chose to begin crocheting a rug for her son’s house. “Even before my diagnosis I had been lethargic, stagnant; I wasn’t productive or engaged. Taking the first few stitches felt like a dam broke in me.”
“It’s a choice between living and doing everything to support that, or folding it up and not caring,” LeAnn said. “For me, that’s not an option … It’s absolutely the choice you make on whether to have that piece of chocolate cake or get off your butt and go to the gym. You can make that choice, but you have to be willing to work it, too.”
LeAnn already had switched to clean eating – lots of vegetables, lean protein, an occasional vegetari“The exercise program is easy to develop,” she ad- an meal. Her energy was low as she recuperated afmitted. “But the desire is hard to develop.” ter radiation, “but she knew she had to take charge Still, she persisted. And Journey to Wellness be- of what to do next,” Deb recalled. Early on, Deb had came a pathway to loving her life more than ever LeAnn list her strengths. She’s a creative soul, but hadn’t been doing her crafts for some time. before. Before January 14, 2014, the day of her breast cancer diagnosis, she had a pretty good vision of herself. Sure, she was carrying a few extra pounds but figured she generally was healthy, whole and knew who she was in life. But that day, she bottomed out. “It literally fell out of me, that sense of who I was,” she said. In its place came fear. “Am I going to die? Who am I? Yeah, I’m a little fluffy,” she acknowledged her extra pounds, “but suddenly it was a lot more serious than I thought. At that point, all you have is the word cancer.”
"That was big,” Deb said. “Doing is good for your health.” They decided to meet weekly, to get LeAnn on a strength program, exercise five times a week, start meditating. As with all her clients, Deb focused on the single most important component of making life changes – positivity.
LeAnn set SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and achievable – then followed Deb’s formula: life event + reaction = outcome. She took responsibility, and relied on Deb for accountability to stick to her guns.
Which brings us back to her attitude toward exercise. LeAnn followed through on her commitment to five days a week at the gym; in fact, Deb logged 50 visits LeAnn made to The Summit during the three-month program. “That’s great progress, since she didn’t like to exercise!”
Today, although she admits she’s still not at 100 percent, she likes exercising. “I get twitchy; my body starts to ache if I go for two or three days without exercising.” Contrary to some who feel that endorphin rush with exercise, LeAnn feels a calm wash over her, a connectedness. “I feel my heart rate come back down,” she said. “I feel complete.”
joined her in the change to clean eating. He’s her cheering section.
“My husband is the best man on this earth,” she said, noting that she was in his court in 2001 when she donated a kidney to him. “The relationship we have is my most The exercise habit is so ingrained, in fact, that after significant support.” one particularly draining day at work, she planned to head home for a glass of wine and was surprised Going forward, she wants to try to find her car pulling into The Summit’s parking lot different things. She’s already started jogging and wants to step instead. up her game there. She’s interest“I have to learn to trust my body,” she said. “It’s not ed in checking out hot yoga, pursuing her natural culinary talents all about my brain.” by trying new recipes she finds on It’s not all about numbers, either, but LeAnn has rea- Pinterest. son to be proud. She gladly shares that from November 2013, just before her diagnosis, until January She caught an energy from Deb 2015, she dropped from 170 pounds down to 143; Davis and April Terry, another she still wants to shed another 10 pounds to give wellness coach at The Summit herself a cushion. Her Body Mass Index started at who has been a big help as LeAnn develops her core 30.2 and now stands at a healthy 25.6. Her visceral strength. It was a vitality, a positivity, a spark she adfat, the dangerous fat surrounding internal organs, mires and is adopting. dropped two full levels – from 11 to 9. “That visual in my head, I wanted it. I wanted to be She credits doctor support, mentoring from Deb, bouncy and light,” like them, she said. So she started coaching from other Journey to Wellness team putting in some laps on the track. “The fact that I’m jogging now is amazing.” members. But the bottom line is she did the work.
“She was a powerful, compassionate, caring Journey to Wellness member who set her goals and worked so hard to accomplish them,” Deb said, admiring LeAnn for continuing her journey under her own power. “She is a role model for us all.”
If you want to connect with Journey to Wellness, please talk to your doctor for a referral or call Clinical Services Representatives Michele Maher at (406) LeAnn’s fortunate to have an iron-clad support The new LeAnn laughs easily, describes herself as 751-4106. system in her husband, Michael. He posted notes an open book. She happily offers any tips and wison her mirror and throughout the house during her dom that could help somebody else find their own treatment and recovery: Gratitude is the Answer. He pathway to health.
Ask the Skin Coach
Supplements for Skin?
By Erin Blair, Licensed Esthetician + Certified Health Coach
I’m taking a Hair, Skin and Nails vitamin supplement, but it doesn’t seem to be helping my skin. My hair is thicker and healthier, but my skin is still quite broken out. Are there other supplements that I should consider adding?
First off, I’m a health coach. I don’t prescribe medications or supplements. My recommendations are just that: recommendations. So please take this information and do your own research, because you are ultimately responsible for your own health choices. Having said that, I do spend a significant amount of time in continuing education and research, and I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned.
A skin supplement that’s bad for skin?
My first suggestion is to stop taking the Hair, Skin and Nails formula right away. I’ve seen a surge of acne lately with the rising popularity of these supplements. Why? They contain Biotin; a B vitamin that, while necessary for skin health, will cause acne flares in higher doses. Biotin deficiencies are rare. The recommended daily allowance is 300 mcg of Biotin per day, which we easily get from food. Also, our bodies can make it from foods we consume. Many supplement formulas contain 5000 mcg! These high dosages can lead to several other unwanted and even dangerous side effects, in addition to painful, inflamed acne of the face and body. After you ditch the Hair, Skin and Nails…find a pharmaceutical grade multi vitamin. Why is this important? As I (daily) tell my clients, the vitamin market in the United States is a Wild West free for all. There is no regulation of the supplement industry, which sadly means that consumers have no way of trusting the claims on a label, including whether the contents are accurate, pure, or potent. Unless, that is, the supplement is pharmaceutical grade, which means they are voluntarily adhering to the higher drug-manufacturer standards, testing, and quality control.
Compare your vitamins
For a really eye-opening look at how supplements stack up, go to Amazon.com and spend a few bucks on the NutriSearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements (Lyle MacWilliam). Hint: if you’re taking Centrum, GNC, Kirkland, or Arbonne, prepare for disappointment. And if yours isn’t in the book, it didn’t make the cut. This helpful tool is compiled by an independent group of research scientists, and they consider multi-vitamins from a staggering array of angles in order to reach their conclusions. I wouldn’t be without a copy.
Ask the Skin Coach
Another critical addition would be Omega 3 fatty acids. Personally, I prefer fish oil as a primary source. Vegetarian options such as Chia seeds, flax, and walnut oils also provide Omega 3s, but are not as readily available to the body. Again, pharmaceutical grade is the only way to go. But there’s a problem. The USA doesn’t have a pharmaceutical grade standard for fish oil. The solution? Companies like Nordic Naturals, which adheres to the Norwegian and European pharmaceutical standards. This is important, in order to avoid contaminated or otherwise subpar fish oil.
Eat this, not that
Probiotics are also very beneficial for skin health. Since it’s difficult to know if a bottle on the shelf contains live organisms, I encourage clients to get as much as possible from raw, fermented foods. Yogurt does contain probiotics, but dairy (especially low fat) is a problem for acne. Instead, consider coconut water kefir, raw sauerkraut, kim chee, and the like. Fermented foods will provide significantly more beneficial bacteria than the best supplement! Since you suffer from acne, I would also suggest you avoid excess iodine. Kelp tablets, iodine drops, large amounts of sea vegetables, shellfish, spirulina and iodized salt will all trigger flares in the acne-prone.
I hope this helps with your supplement choices. I also recommend eating the best possible local, seasonal, whole foods diet. Ahhh, and water. Drink lots of water. And live happily ever after.
Erin Blair, LE CHC owns Skin Therapy Studio, where she embraces a creative method of treatments, products and coaching to get skin clear... and keep it that way. It's a 'whole person' approach to difficult skin concerns. Visit SkinTherapyStudio.com for more info, and to submit questions for Ask the Skin Coach.
Kalispell OBGYN offers -Backs
By Dr. Jonas Kalispell OB/GYN
My first baby was born by Cesarean section. Is it safe to have my next child vaginally?
That is a great question, and the answer is likely “yes.” Vaginal births after cesarean can be a wonderful option for most women. If you had your first baby by Cesarean section, you have two options for your next delivery. You may labor with the goal of having your baby vaginally. If you are successful, this is known as a VBAC. Or, you may elect to have another cesarean as early as one week prior to your due date. While VBACs are generally very safe, there are aspects of each woman’s personal history, health and pregnancy that affect both the amount of risk and her chances of success. Obstetricians generally agree that if a woman is felt to have a high chance of success and a low risk of complications, she should be offered a trial of labor. There is a great deal of research to support the safety of a VBAC if a woman has had no more than 2 cesareans of the “low transverse” (or side-to-side) incision type. Women carrying either a single baby or twins (if the first baby is head down) are candidates for a vaginal delivery.
The benefits of a vaginal birth after cesarean delivery are great and include avoiding another surgery, quicker recovery, less blood loss, less risk of infection, and a more familycentered experience for the birth of your baby. If you are planning a large family, avoiding a cesarean delivery will decrease your risks of complications for future deliveries. In general, 60-80 of every 100 women attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean will be successful. Factors affecting your chances of delivering vaginally include your age, your weight, your baby’s weight, if you have had a vaginal delivery before, and the reason for your previous cesarean. In particular, if your previous cesarean delivery was for a reason not expected to recur (such as breech presentation, stress of the baby, or placenta in an abnormal location) or if you have had a vaginal delivery before you stand a greater chance of having your next baby vaginally. On the other hand, if you are well over your ideal body weight, your baby is very large, or your previous baby would not fit
despite appropriate labor, your chances of success are lower. There are calculators recently published that allow you and your provider to estimate your chances of success. There are, of course, risks associated with a trial of labor and these risks should be carefully balanced against the benefits. The most significant risks include distress of the baby, or “rupture” of the previous scar which can cause a life-threatening situation for both mother and baby and requires emergent surgery to deliver the baby. Thankfully, the risk of uterine rupture is very low for most women – generally believed to be less than one percent. A woman’s risk of severe complication, including rupture, is known to be higher in certain situations. The most common of these situations is if you have had any surgery on your uterus that required a large incision into your uterus other than a low transverse cesarean delivery. In this case, it is not recommended for you to attempt a vaginal delivery.
Factors affecting your chances of delivering vaginally include your age, your weight, your baby’s weight, if you have had a vaginal delivery before, and the reason for your previous cesarean.
If you are planning a trial of labor, there are two things you should take very seriously: the choice of your labor attendant and the location of your care. If you are considered low-risk, your chance of a uterine rupture is very low, but it does occur. When it occurs, it often happens with very little warning and extremely rapidly. The signs and symptoms may be subtle at first. Because it occurs rarely, you will be best served by a physician that has taken care of many women attempting a trial of labor and that is trained to perform life-saving surgical delivery if needed. They will have the greatest chance of recognizing any complications and moving quickly to keep you and your baby safe. You should be in a location where surgical response is available immediately with a surgical crew, and anesthesiologist in the building. This by definition is a hospital setting. These things will allow your labor to proceed in the safest manner possible. There has been a recent trend to attempt vaginal birth after cesarean in an out-of-hospital environment with a non-physician as the labor attendant. There is no data to indicate that a woman has a greater chance of success in this environment. If a uterine rupture occurs in a birth center separate from the hospital the
chances of life-threatening consequences are very real. Precious time will be lost recognizing the crisis and transporting the pregnant woman to the hospital. Please, consider both your child’s, and your own, life and health very carefully as you make your plans. I am a strong believer in vaginal birth after cesarean, and I would urge all women to choose the absolutely safest environment for their trial of labor. You and your provider should decide if a trial of labor is a safe option for you. If you do not routinely see a physician for your care, I would recommend that you ask for a referral, or make an appointment yourself, to discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives and your chance of success. Obstetricians have the greatest experience with both the decision process and trials of labor. They can be a wealth of information as you are considering your options This has not been meant to be a list of everything you need to know about VBAC but a brief overview. For more information, I would recommend visiting the website of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, http://www.acog.org/Patients, or UpToDate, http://www.uptodate.com/home. I wish you the very best for your next pregnancy and delivery!
Ew, your breath s t in k s !
Y2K, Breath Stuff, and Dr. Seuss by Dr. John F. Miller DDS
It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since entering the new millennium and surviving the mild panic associated with Y2K. For those needing a refresher, Y2K posed a potential computer programming glitch based on the abbreviated year turning from 99 to 00. The fear was this glitch would cause worldwide computer systems to fail. We were warned of the collapse of financial institutions, the electrical grid, etc., with inevitable riots and looting to follow. As an 18 year-old college freshman without a penny to my name, I didn’t get too worked up about it. I did feel an intense energy for life however as I introduced myself to the new millennium. If New Year’s is our annual reset button, how significant is the New Millennium, I thought. Instead of taking life lessons learned from one year and carrying them over to the New Year, I took 18 years of life lessons and hit reset. Now, one of those life lessons was the importance of Good Breath if I wanted the best chance of gaining the favor of the opposite sex.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was your normal 14-year-old boy; in other words I was girl crazy, and my oral hygiene could use some improvement (standard male adolescent warning label). I was in the school gymnasium after the Pep Rally for the Homecoming football game and I approached a certain young lady and gave her my best line like, “so... do you like The Simpsons or...whatever?” The response I got was, “ew, your breath stinks.” Two Emotions: 1) Mortified!! and 2) Never Again!! Instantaneous Oral Hygiene Wizard Status. So now that the cat’s out of the bag let’s talk about breath: the good, the bad, and the really bad. As an oral health provider I can identify different types of oral disease blindfolded. Gum disease has it’s own scent, significant tooth decay presents with it’s own unique bouquet, and infected teeth their own flavor. I’m reminded of this on every crowded elevator... yep. Fortunately, especially among the lovely devotees of 406 Woman magazine, these are the exception rather than the rule. So let’s focus on the rule.
Show me someone who claims they don’t have bad morning breath and I’ll show you a liar. The key to understanding why our breath smells first thing in the morning is to first understand why it doesn’t smell the rest of the time. As we go about our usual daylight business, bacteria are at work breaking down all the amino acids, proteins, and other chemicals left behind in our mouths from our last meal. This process produces volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) like hydrogen sulfide, dimethyl sulfide, and methyl mercapatan, which are responsible for the funk. In our waking hours, our own saliva washes away the bacteria before they can do their smelly damage; when we fall asleep, our saliva production calls it a night, too. In the absence of much saliva, the VSC-causing bacteria run wild, and the sulfuric compounds build up until their grand unveiling in the morning. It’s a simple equation—mouth plus bacteria minus saliva equals yuck—but the bad news is
As an oral health provider I can identify different types of oral disease blindfolded. Gum disease has it’s own scent, significant tooth decay presents with it’s own unique bouquet, and infected teeth their own flavor.
that there’s not much we can do about it. Brushing before bed will help minimize the damage by reducing the amount of compounds for the bacteria to feed on and drinking a glass of water before bed will compensate at least a little bit for the impending loss of saliva. Other than that, keep your mouth locked down in the morning until you can get to a toothbrush, and we’ll all live happier, fresher-smelling lives. What about...Coffee Breath? The worst, right? The foods and liquids that cause the worst odors are those that include the highest sulfur compounds, such as coffee. Much like when we’re asleep, the caffeine in coffee can dry out our mouth by slowing saliva production. Another reason is simply that coffee has a very strong odor that smells worse than it tastes. It goes without saying that if we do not conduct an assault on morning breath, it will only combine with your morning coffee death, I mean breath. What Can We Do About It? In addition to brushing, flossing, and antibacterial mouth rinse (the holy trinity of oral hygiene), one should know their dental hygienist on a first name basis and should use that name at least twice a year. Drink lots of water during the day when you can’t brush. Consider sugarless gums and/or mints that contain xylitol; and if you smoke will you knock it off already? Please. That rude little girl told me my breath stunk. Thank you. The late and great Dr. Seuss wrote a children’s book titled: “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” And while it is not stated specifically, the books feels aimed at 18 year olds. Titled with the perfect response 2015 Me would say to the Y2K Me if given the chance: “Oh, the places you’ll go...punk.” I wouldn’t ruin the surprise or lessen the adventure. I’d resist the temptation to say, “you know that Canadian girl you met when you were 15 that you can’t stop thinking about? Well, you marry her and have 3 amazing children with another on the way.” I’d bite my tongue and omit the 3 years where he explored every nook and cranny of San Francisco while becoming a dentist. No, I wouldn’t want his head to explode. Lastly, I’d flash a smile knowing that at 18 years old he spends his days dreaming of the Flathead Valley and wishing he could live there someday. And if by chance 2030 Me makes an appearance I hope he would say: You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!...punk.
By Carrie Bates, RRT, AE-C
Taking the Time to
Breathe Search the Internet for the word “breathe” and 139 million results are returned lightning fast. You’ll find dictionary definitions, scientific explanations on what happens on a cellular level, breathing techniques, breathing exercises, breathing classes (classes?!), the importance of breathing while doing yoga (or any exercise), and quotes by famous people explaining why the art of breathing is the essence of life. From the moment you take your first breath into the world to the moment you exhale your last breath onto whatever you believe to be true, it’s automatic. We breathe in. We breathe out. So why is there so much chatter on something we do automatically? We rush to and fro, busy with children, spouses, chores, work, hobbies, taxes – and more. We are on autopilot keeping our schedules in check and checking off our To Do’s, trying our best to get through each day. Why is it we only take a moment to really breathe when we’re in a good or bad moment? Faced with bad news we inhale sharply until our lungs seem like they can’t expand further and then exhale so long it seems we’ll faint. With good news, the inhale is not as sharp but we exhale as if we have no care in the world, head tilted slightly off center, eyes kind and bright as if we’re lying on the beach with warm sun on our cheeks. These are the moments that remind us that we’re alive. The moments that remind us to be in the moment and go off of autopilot and take in the world around us. For almost 91,000 Montanans, being in the moment and taking the time to check their breathing has to be at the top of their priorities. These individuals have asthma, a chronic, life-long, sometimes life-threatening disease that makes it hard to get air in and out of the lungs, even if they are not having an attack. The exact cause of asthma is not known, but researchers think a mix of environmental and ge-
netic factors often early in life play a significant role. Asthma can be controlled with regular outpatient care, self-management, and medication. A simple mnemonic, “ART”, can help remind people how to prevent future asthma attacks:
:Avoid asthma triggers. Tobacco smoke; allergens; pets; cover your mouth if you’re headed into cold air; avoid strong odors and spray perfumes; warm up and cool down properly when exercising; and make sure you receive available vaccinations to avoid any illnesses.
how to manage it. Montana is a place for ideas, and to make those ideas work we need to collaborate together. Which is why, when I heard about an opportunity to work closely with the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Asthma Control Program to create a one of a kind asthma education plan, I jumped at the opportunity.
:Take your asthma medications. There are many medications available to help control asthma. Working with your doctor will help find the best one for you.
The program is a natural fit with North Valley Hospital’s Planetree philosophy of patient-centered care. Through coordination of several departments across the hospital, when an individual enters the facility and is identified with asthma or the potential for asthma, they receive personalized education on asthma causes, triggers, symptoms, and signs to recognize an oncoming attack. We also explain how specific changes in their home environment can decrease triggers, and develop a personalized home management care plan that includes ways to continue the conversation with their primary doctor. Our goal is to improve community knowledge about the disease, improve health outcomes for asthma patients who visit our hospital and ultimately reduce asthmarelated readmissions for individuals over time. There are also initiatives in the works for outpatient educational programs and support groups, and taking the program to our primary care clinics.
An exciting new program is now available at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish to help those individuals who come through our doors with a primary or secondary diagnosis of asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year nearly 4,500 asthma-related hospitalizations occur throughout Montana. The highest rates occur with children aged 0-17 and seniors’ aged 65 and over. As a Registered Respiratory Therapist and manager of the Respiratory Therapy department at North Valley, it is my primary goal to make it easier for individuals to take an active role in their asthma treatment through increased education about their disease and
Take a moment and go through a simple exercise with me. Wherever you are sitting, or standing, or leaning on a post waiting for your name to be called letting you know your coffee is ready to be enjoyed, lengthen your spine just a few inches taller and raise the top of your head to the sky. Close your mouth and inhale slowly through your nose until you feel as if your lungs cannot take in anymore of the fresh air. Exhale slowly through your nose until it seems you have exhausted every cell in your body with air. Look around at all of the beauty and wonder around you, and be grateful for all of the advancements right here in the Flathead Valley. There is much to breathe in.
:Regularly visit your doctor. Working with your doctor to create an asthma action plan is important. Your doctor can educate you on how to avoid common asthma triggers and teach you how to properly take any controller medication prescribed.
Stay Heart Healthy By Flathead City-County Health Department
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Although significant progress has been made in increasing awareness among women that heart disease is their #1 killer (nationally from 34 percent in 2000 to 56 percent in 2012) many still fail to make the connection between its risk factors and their personal risk of developing heart disease. In fact, this disease kills one out of every four American women. While heart disease risk begins to rise in middle age, heart disease develops over time and can start at a young age, even in the teen years. It's never too early, or too late, to take action to prevent and control the risk factors for heart disease. Women can make healthy changes to lower their risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower risk: Maintain a healthy weight.
Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. (1-800-QUIT-NOW) Drink alcohol only in moderation. Get active and eat healthy. High blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and diabetes also increase a person’s risk for heart disease. According to the 2011 Behavioral Risk Surveillance Survey, 35.6% of adults in Flathead County were told that their blood cholesterol levels were high, and 28.3% were told that they have high blood pressure; both showing higher rates than in previous years. Following the advice of medical professionals, women (and men) can protect themselves from future heartache by working to prevent heart disease in their future. Often heart disease can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices, especially when starting at a young age.
The Bitter Truth About Sugar by Jessica Manly, FoodCorps Service Member, Kalispell, Montana
I don’t want to live in a world without birthday cake or salty caramel ice cream on a July afternoon either, trust me. I can mark some of the sweetest moments in my life by the equally sugary treats that accompanied them—pain au chocolat on my first morning in Paris, my mother’s blueberry teacake on every birthday of my childhood. A delicious dessert can be cause for celebration in itself. My sweet tooth (my many sweet teeth) makes the lesson I’ve been teaching as a FoodCorps Service Member in District 5 this winter a particularly painful one: sugar, particularly high fructose corn syrup, may be the single most harmful ingredient in the Standard American Diet. Though in Montana we are currently the least obese state in the nation, our country as a whole is still in the grips of a full on epidemic of obesity and diet-related illness— in the last 30 years, the percentage of overweight or obese children in this country has tripled. The generation born in the year 2000 is the first in our country’s history to have a shorter projected life expectancy than their parents’ generation. Is the ubiquity of added sugar in packaged and convenience food and drink to blame?
Certainly, lack of exercise, increase in snacking (3-6 snacks per day, versus 0-1 reported by school children in the 1970s), decrease in consumption of fruits and vegetables, and our cultural reverence for watching cooking shows on television, but near abandonment of actual cooking, all add up to expanding waistlines. Many experts agree, however, that added sugar, and especially the condensed caloric load of high-fructose corn syrup, may pack the most fatal punch to our collective health and wellbeing.
The Harvard School of Public Health clearly states, “There’s no nutritional need or benefit that comes from eating added sugar.” And worse, when we consume the empty calories in sugary foods, like sodas, those calories are quickly converted into fat stores on our body, spiking our blood sugar and taxing our liver and pancreas in the process. Additionally, eating sugary and processed foods interferes with the hormone leptin, which enables our brains to monitor fullness and satiety. That’s why it’s possible to polish off a whole box of cookies and still feel like you’re starving. The American Heart Association recommends that adult women and men limit their added sugar intake to no more than 6 and 8 teaspoons per day respectively, with teens limited to five teaspoons, and those under five years old sticking to three teaspoons per day. In contrast, the average American consumes approximately 36-38 teaspoons of sugar per day, or 156 pounds of sugar per year. That’s 31 five-pound bags of added sugar per year! In this context, it’s hardly surprising that one in three children born in the year 2000 are on track to develop diet-related (Type II) diabetes in their lifetime. This massive quantity
of added sugar starts to make a bit more sense when one realizes that a single 20oz serving of Coca-Cola is equivalent to 15 teaspoons of sugar, triple the daily AHA recommended sugar limit for teens.
The argument against eating added sugar is long, so why doesn’t everyone just cut it out cold turkey? One of the major reasons may be that sugar is everywhere. Out of approximately 600,000 packaged food items available in grocery stores, 80% have added sugar. 80% of all packaged products! That means sugar isn’t only hiding in the sweet cereals, yogurts, and cookies where we expect to find it, but also in tomato sauce, salad dressing, meats, bread, and soups. Checking the ingredient list on every item you buy for yourself or your family is the only way to avoid it. And to make matters more complicated, sugar can disguise itself behind almost 60 different nicknames, including corn syrup, cane sugar, ethyl maltol, fruit juice concentrate, muscovado, sorbitol, sucrose, maltose, diatase, and on and on. Another reason we continue to gorge on sweets? Sugar is highly addictive. Sugar releases dopamine in the brain, as when one uses hard drugs, like cocaine, and stimulates the reward system in the body controlled by the cerebral cortex, leading to cravings for more sugar, loss of behavioral control, and increased tolerance to sugar. The easy solution? Stick to whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy, and limit daily sugar intake to special occasions. This includes limiting natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, and agave too, which can affect the body in the same way as refined sugar. Fresh fruit can help with sugar cravings as your wean yourself off of the white stuff.
Surprising Sugar Bombs
1 2 3
Yogurt—Some flavored yogurts can have the same sugar content as ice cream. Stick to plain, rather than vanilla and add sliced fruit for sweetness and flavor. Sports drinks and drink powders—Water is far better for casual athletes than sports drinks, which can contain roughly 90% sugar.
Dried fruit and fruit juice—Overdoing it on dried fruit and juice will set you up for a sugar crash. Dried fruit like apples or raisins can be up to 81% sugar. And when the fiber is removed from juice it spikes our blood sugar more than eating whole, fresh fruit.
4 5 6
Soda—Just say no to soda’s empty calories. They spike the blood sugar, and have negative effects on the brain, heart, lungs and teeth. Low-fat or fat-free snack foods—To make low fat foods more palatable, they are often laden with sugar, much more even than their full-fat counterparts. Cereal—Check the nutrition label! To avoid listing “sugar” as the first ingredient, manufacturers may use multiple forms of sugar, each with a different name.
Are you “fed up” with sugar and it’s not so sweet health effects? Watch the documentary Fed Up (2014) and sign up for the 10-day sugar detox, The Fed Up Challenge, on their website: fedupmovie.com.
M o n ta na
Wild Wings Recovery Center Written by Kari Gabriel
In our last article, we told you about our crazy busy first year, but didn’t have the final numbers yet. We admitted 129 birds total, 80 of which were raptors. The others included songbirds, woodpeckers, herons, waterfowl, seagulls, pigeons, magpies, ravens and crows. All in all, we admitted 39 different species of wild birds in 2014! "Arthur" Ferruginous Hawk, photo by Sue Haugan We are looking forward to continuing our education programs in classrooms and at public events in 2015. Last year, we reached almost 7000 school children and adults, during 86 education programs and events. Our programs included visits to elementary, middle, high school, and college classes, special events and community celebrations. If you are interested in having us visit your classroom or special event, send us an email or give us a call. We do ask for a $75 program donation to help feed our hard-working feathered ambassadors. We are a 100% volunteer driven organization, and all donate our time and gas to MWWRC.
dents), picking up & weighing uneaten food (rodents and fish), weighing out new food (more rodents and fish) and then feeding our 23 raptors. On our spring clean up days, we pressure wash a winter’s worth of bird poop off 26 raptor enclosures and transport kennels, and defrost and scrub out 4 freezers that hold our raptor food (rodents, fish and meat). With our winter weather, it is impossible to scrub the enclosures with disinfectant and water, due to the freezing temps, so we have our hands full when we finally thaw out. We also have to make runs to the dump with spoiled or outdated meat and fish and other trash. Once we get everything cleaned up, we will need to touch up the raptor enclosures with paint, fix We occasionally get asked about whether or not we anything in need of fixing, and re-cover perches with are taking new volunteers. If you are interested in Astroturf and rope. Did I mention how glamorous volunteering, please send us an email and we will send our volunteer opportunities are? If this sounds like you a volunteer application. We will have opportuni- something you are interested in, shoot us an email! ties coming up this spring, when we hold our annual baby shower, and also during our spring clean up. Education Ambassador Profile: Our volunteer positions are far from glamorous…. Arthur, Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) Each of us spends a minimum of 2 hours every day Arthur, our Ferruginous Hawk, is one of our more cleaning up bird poop, scrubbing out water bowls and personable raptor ambassadors. She came to us in heat plates (covered in more bird poop & fish & ro- July of 2013, as a fledgling, and will turn two this
spring. Arthur was found in Browning, MT, and had been hanging out with a family, begging for food. They chose the name Arthur, so we kept it. When she came to us, she had an old break in her wing and was also imprinted, so she cannot be released. The Ferruginous Hawk, (Buteo regalis, Latin for royalty) belongs to the broad-winged buteo hawks. An old colloquial name is "Ferrugineous Rough-leg", due to its similarity to the closely related Roughlegged Hawk. Both of these hawks are the only two hawks that have feathers covering their legs down to their toes, like the Golden Eagle. The Ferruginous Hawk is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions and behavior, and is the largest North American Hawk. The word “ferruginous” derives from the Latin word for iron, referring to the rusty brown of the species’ light color morph. There is also a less-common dark morph, which we’ve not yet seen at our facility. Ferruginous Hawks measure between 22 and 28 inches tall from the top of head to tip of tail, with their body size being between 16 and 32 inches. They have a wingspan of 52.4–55.9 inches, and weigh from 2.4 to 5.4 pounds. The male and
female have identical markings, but as with all raptors, the females are larger.
poles, and other man-made structures. Before the elimination of bison in the West, nests of the Ferruginous Hawk were often partially conWith pointed, long, broad wings that almost structed of bison bones and wool. They will lay reach the tip of the tail, a large head with a wide more eggs when prey abounds, fewer eggs when gape, and a white or light gray square-shaped rodent populations decrease. tail, the Ferruginous Hawk is a spectacular sight. In a light morph, like Arthur, the head is mostly Both parents incubate eggs, but the female does white with a dark streak extending behind the the majority of the incubating. Ferruginous eye. The back and shoulders are rufous colored, Hawk eggs hatch in late May and the first week and there is a pale patch in ends of wings. The of June, with the females typically hatching 10 underparts are mostly white, the legs are rufous days after the males, as they take longer to decolored, and you can see a dark V while the velop. Fledging occurs in late June to mid-July, hawk is in flight. The dark morph is entirely and juvenile birds have been observed in Mondark brown, with a light gray or whitish tail, and tana into late August. The young have higher a light area near the end of the wings. fledging success in the southwestern part of the state, where there is more tree nesting and Their eye color changes from gray in nestlings therefore fewer ground predators. Once young through buff yellow to chestnut in breeding birds have fledged, they have low mortality rates. adults. We have been able to watch Arthur’s transformation from juvenile to her gorgeous Upcoming Programs featuring adult plumage, which has been a real treat! MWWRC Raptors: Part of our mission includes providing education In the wild, Ferruginous Hawks eat mainly programs. You can check out our birds at these rabbits, ground squirrels, mice, birds, reptiles, scheduled programs, with more being added on amphibians, insects and prairie dogs, and hunt a regular basis. Check out our facebook page while soaring or from perches. Arthur’s diet and our website for upcoming programs. consists of mice, squirrels, rabbits, birds and game meat. Thursday, May 7th from 5 – 7:30 PM Community Bird Festival program at Salish Ferruginous Hawks arrive in Montana in mid- Kootenai College, Joe McDonald Health and to late March. They form monogamous pairs, Athletic Center in Pablo, MT. Family friendly and eggs are laid in mid-April. The average and free admission. clutch size for Ferruginous Hawk nests is three to five eggs, and it is one of the most adapt- Wednesday, July 8th from 6-9 PM. able nesters of the raptors. They will use trees, Community Tap Night at Tamarack Brewing ledges, rock or dirt outcrops, cow dung, cattle Company in Lakeside, .75 from every pint sold bones, roots, sticks, sagebrush, low cliffs, buttes, will be donated to MWWRC. Come visit our cutbanks, haystacks, nest platforms, power birds between 6 and 9 PM! "Hawkeye" Rough Legged Hawk & "Frank" Northern Pygmy Owl
MWWRC Volunteer Profile: Kim Vierra outdoor resident raven, named Randy, who was a patient at MWWRC and soft released in her yard several years ago. Randy is a perfectly healthy wild raven, but he has made his home in her woods, and makes frequent appearances in Kim’s yard.
Kim Vierra, with "Frank" the Northern Pygmy Owl. Photo by Taylor Diehl. Meet Kim Vierra, MWWRC volunteer since 2011. Kim came to the Flathead 13 years ago from the San Francisco Bay area, but her grandparents settled in Whitefish in 1912, and her Mom was also born in Whitefish. Kim lives in Kalispell with her 17-year-old daughter Taylor, and their “zoo” at home, including 2 Poodles, 2 Chihuahuas, a Cane Corso Mastiff, 4 cats, 3 horses, 2 hens and some fish! She also has an
Kim has been rescuing animals since she was a small child. She’d help any animal, bird or bug that needed saving! In the late 1980s, she started to volunteer with a group called International Bird Rescue. The center cares for sick, injured, abused, and orphaned aquatic birds at two year-round wildlife care centers in California - one in Los Angeles, the other in the San Francisco Bay Area, and also maintains the Alaska Wildlife Response Center (AWRC) located in Anchorage, AK. Kim owns and operates 3D Pet Sitting and Services. She does in-home pet sitting, and
cares for a large variety of animal clients including dogs, cats, pigs, horses and miniature cows. She also cares for special needs pets needing medications, or any other type of specialized care. For the last 9 years, she has also spent a tremendous amount of time as a volunteer firefighter EMT with West Valley Fire and Rescue. In her spare time, Kim loves spending time with Taylor, going fishing, and traveling. Taylor, a college student, also helps out with projects at MWWRC. “Getting to work with these amazing and beautiful birds is such an honor. I feel so lucky to be able to be around such magnificent creatures! It's incredible to be able to work so closely with these animals that most people only get to see at a distance. I also enjoy the other volunteers who I work with,” said Kim.
Contact us for more information or to schedule an education program: www.wildwingsrecovery.org - firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook.com/montanawildwingsrecoverycenter - 406-250-1070
131 Central Avenue Whitefish, MT 59937 406-862-9199 800-862-9199
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Checking In What’s the hurry?
We look back over the holiday season and for many it was a wonderful long break that lasted about two weeks. It seemed that everyone what at least taking some time off to enjoy family, friends, activities, and the joy of the season. Then…January 4th came and we all prepared to go back to work and some normalcy – no one expected the 24” plus snow that fell that day and well into the next. School closures (we all know that is pretty unusual around here), emergency travel only strongly suggested, and shoveling…and more shoveling…and yet more shoveling! Like most school kids in the valley, we just chalked it up to winter and tried not to think of our to do lists but enjoy the snow. Unfortunately too many people felt the need to race out and start the new “work” year – storm or no storm. We wonder…what’s the hurry? We encourage you to look at days like that as gifts and relax a bit. Bake a batch of cookies, call a friend, or better yet – go play! Rarely does everything go according to plan but we all manage to make do and get the job done. But on those days where you are really at a stand still and can’t control the situation – best bet for you and those around you is to make the best of it and treat it as a gift from Mother Nature – her way of telling you to slow down, look around, and relax.
Consider these resolutions for a more relaxing new year…
Take a long walk with a friend, your dog or by yourself at least once a week
Call your parents if you can – for those of us that have lost a parent (or both) they will reiterate how good this advice is Spend time with a child and really be present and listen Stop at that yellow traffic signal – keep everyone safer and probably get there at the same time Volunteer for an organization you feel passionate about Attend a cultural event (artist opening, musical performance, or museum) – there are many free and very reasonably priced events every month in the valley Turn off your phone and be present Mainly we want you to “stop and smell the roses.” There are really very few real emergencies in this world and most of us are not brain surgeons or rocket scientists and that call, text or email can usually wait! Happy New Year! Cindy & Kristen
What did we learn after reading this issue?
Tahnee Peppenger, Miss Montana USA, owns the business PinkSpurs & Co and dreams of running for (and winning) public office in the state. Read Maureen Francisco’s Q&A story about Peppenger and Miss Montana Teen USA, Miranda Youngren in our Business section on page 10.
Using the mnemonic ART, can help remind you how to prevent future asthma attacks. Carrie Bates is the manager of the Respiratory Therapy department at North Valley Hospital and offers some great information in her “Taking the Time to Breathe" story in our Health section on page 46. Read about Arthur, a Ferruginous Hawk, that is a raptor ambassador at Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center (MWWRC). “She” has been with the center since July 2013. Find this issue’s update on the wonderful work that the MWWRC is doing on page 54 of our Business and Health Section.
406 Erin Blair
Contributor’s Corner "What is your favorite nonprofit organization and why? How do you support it?”
Licensed esthetician and owner of Skin Therapy Studio
Lawyer and national best selling writer of 'The Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries'
Founder of I Want Her Job and Senior Consumer Marketing Manager at NASCAR track Phoenix International Raceway
Cris Marie Campbell
Master certified Martha Beck coach and consultant, co-owner of Thrive! Inc.
Owner of Bestow Hearth & Home; Extraordinary Event Decorator
Susan B Clarke
Faculty at The Haven Institute for 20 years and co-owner of Thrive! Inc.
Accomplished writer and newly published author of “Reservation Champ’
Lucy Smit h
Certified in pilates and an active health coach, owner of Exhale Pilates Studio
Many of us with long histories in the nonprofit community joke that we have never met a charity we didn’t love. Who can help but be drawn to organizations devoted to making the world a kinder, safer, healthier place for everyone and everything? As the Flathead Community Foundation’s director, I get to work for the benefit of all these beautiful institutions. Lucky me!
Freelance marketing, public relations & events specialist
Exec Dir or Flathead CARE plus wildlife rehabilitator and educator
Music aficionado, former English teacher, and all around good guy
Kalispell OB/GYN Doctors & Practitioners
Board certified OB/GYN professional offering expert advice
Junkermier, Clark, Campanella, Stevens, P.C. Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors
Marketing communications specialist at Kalispell Regional Healthcare, and career journalist
Public relations and marketing expert for organizations in the arts and music
Executive Chef and Owner of John’s Angels Catering
Montana FoodCorps leader connecting kids to real food to grow up healthy
Nancy Kimbal l
Program Director for the Women’s Foundation of Montana
Tough to choose just one, but Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley is probably the best of the best for me. What they do is tangible, life-giving, esteem-building and utterly life-changing for the families who finally get a decent, affordable home they helped build themselves. How cool is that? I’ve worked on a few builds over the years, and earmark some of my paycheck for them every month.
John Miller, DDS
Specializing in general dentistry, Dr Miller provides expert advice
Kelly O’Brien, Esq.
Business law specialist with Measure Law Office, P.C.
Writer, editor and owner of Whitefish Study Center
Wine expert and owner of Brix Bottleshop in Kalispell
Designer, writer, and owner of Wheelie Creative, design agency
Entrepreneurship Coordinator at FVCC; Accomplished writer and editor
Talented writer and songstress, promoting music as Singer & Simpson Productions
Executive Director of the Flathead Community Foundation, believes that everyday philanthropy is changing the world
Owner of Marketing Bits, writing and design business
For full bios for our contributors, please visit www.406woman.com.
Ke l l y O’B r ien
Professional journalist, freelance writer and committed to the community
There are so many nonprofit organizations doing great work it is hard to choose a favorite. However, if I were to choose one it would be Foy’s to Blacktail Trails. I support the organization by serving on its board of directors as well as making financial contributions towards the organizations projects. Foy’s to Blacktail Trails works to provide open space and trail access to Herron Park and the surrounding area, just a few minutes from Kalispell. It is so special to me because I grew up in the Flathead Valley and feel it is important to have an area so close to town for everyone to use and enjoy, plus I love running and riding my mountain bike on the trails it has worked to provide for the public.
Braver Than you know By Kay Burt Photos by Jessi Way
Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ~ Christopher Robin to Winnie The Pooh It started as a spot the size of a quarter, just over the left ear. Nihcole Koelzer was combing through her daughter’s hair on a morning last spring when she first noticed the bare, circular patch. Though surprised, she wasn’t alarmed; she assumed there was a benign cause. Hair grows back; right? But as the patch enlarged and a second one appeared, mild concern gave way to action. Nihcole scheduled an appointment with a local dermatologist, and there would be little to prepare them for the outcome of that visit. Five-year-old Kiersten, “KK” for short, was diagnosed with alopecia areata-hair loss, likely permanent--and the Koelzer family found themselves in the midst of an unforeseen storm.
The family regrouped and struggled to adapt. Stopgap measures were employed to cover KK’s thinning hair: wide bands, scarves and cute knit beanies. But though Nihcole could cover the bare spots on her daughter’s scalp, she could do little to conceal her own anxieties. Would other children make fun of Kiersten? Would people avoid her, thinking she Other than the basic diagnosis and a synopsis, the was ill? And how might it affect her sweet, condermatologist could offer little in the way of reas- fident personality? At five years of age and just surance. She explained that alopecia is a rare dis- entering kindergarten, KK was handling the loss order, occurring in only 2% of the general popula- matter-of-factly, but peer pressure was not yet a tion. In some instances, the hair grows back, but factor. One day it would be. not always. If there is regrowth, it is usually different in appearance, soft and unpigmented, rather Nihcole investigated the scanty menu of solulike pale down. The doctor concluded by telling tions. Traditional medicine offered only two opthem that the hair loss could be a one-time event tions: The first, topical steroid creams produced or there could be regrowth and recurrence over a no guaranteed results; plus, prolonged exposure lifetime. Little was known of the cause nor cure, to steroids sounded risky for a developing child. other than that the disorder appears to be stress The second, painful cortisone shots injected direlated, genetically linked, and responds at times rectly into the scalp, was not an option at all. There to steroids. appeared to be some promise with diet and a holistic approach, but there would be no immediate Al-O-pee-sha. The Koelzers could hardly pro- fix. The only real option appeared to be a wig, but nounce the word, much less apprehend it. Nihcole wigs certainly had their drawbacks. They were surfed the web, determined to learn more. Due to notoriously itchy, uncomfortable, and easily disits relative obscurity, she learned, the disease has lodged—hardly a practical alternative for a fivefallen beyond the pale of mainstream research. It year-old. But Nihcole pressed on. Surely, in an age affects young and old, male and female. She also when Earth can be viewed from Mars, someone discovered that it is part of a larger family of au- must make a comfortable wig? toimmune disorders—among them lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and MS--in which the body turns Another on-line quest revealed that, indeed, there upon itself. Alopecia differs from its cousins in were comfortable wigs available. They were fashthat it specifically attacks hair follicles. Depending ioned with human hair and could be tailored to on which hair follicles are targeted (face, scalp or fit a child’s scalp. The wigs incorporated special, entire body), the disease is further classified into breathable caps, which hugged the head, allowing
three types. If there was any grace at all in Kiersten’s diagnosis, it was that she had been diagnosed with “spotty alopecia.” She would lose the hair on her scalp, but her lashes and brows would remain intact.
a child to swim, turn cartwheels or tug off a helmet without fear. The hair could be washed and styled, just like the real McCoy! But as quickly as Nihcole’s hopes soared, they plummeted. Prices began at $2,000 and ranged upwards. Not only was the initial outlay prohibitive, but also Kiersten would need a new wig every few years. Hoping there might be help from health insurance, Nihcole consulted the family’s carrier. She learned that wigs are considered “cosmetic” by definition and are therefore excluded from coverage—even with an underlying medical condition.
It was at that low point, reeling from on-line sticker shock and bad news, that Nihcole made her way to the little shop on Kalispell’s Main Street. A friend had noticed the place in passing and remembered seeing wigs in the window. There, sharing retail space with First Choice Decore, Nihcole met Nez and Katie, proprietors of “Picture Me Perfect.” She believes that meeting was by divine appointment. Not only could Nez and Katie supply a wig similar to the ones online, but at $1,500, their price constituted a significant savings. The fitting could be done locally, and even more importantly, Nez and Katie offered self-image counseling, support and deep empathy. Nez helped Kiersten try on a few wigs, took photos and they laughed and had a blast. And there was
Kiersten's head shaving party in October 2014.
And how might it affect her sweet, confident personality? At five years of age and just entering kindergarten, KK was handling the loss matter-of-factly, but peer pressure was not yet a factor. One day it would be. an additional perk in the discovery of “Picture Me Perfect. ” Nez knew of another family coping with alopecia—also with a five-year-old daughter--and was able to put the two families in touch. That connection, too, proved providential. “It was so comforting to know we were not alone,” Nihcole remarks, “The similarities in our experience seem more than coincidence.”
Meanwhile, KK’s hair had thinned to a few tatters, and it became clear they’d need to shave the rest. Nihcole tried to ease that transition by cutting her own waist-length hair cut to shoulder length. She agonized with friends, dreading the next step, but there seemed no easy way. Ultimately it was longtime family friend, Jessi Way, who came up with an idea: Jessi would enlist her three sons--older boys whom KK idolized--and they’d all go to a salon together. Jessi would have her long hair bobbed, the boys and KK would have their heads shaved, and Nihcole could cut her hair still shorter. They’d make a party of it! It was a selfless, ingenious plan. Nihcole broached the subject carefully, knowing the next move would require real courage on KK’s part. “KK, what do you think about going to a fancy salon and having your hair cut?” “You mean like yours, Mommy?” “Kind of, but shorter. “Like what?”
“Would you be willing to shave it?” “Well. . .would you shave yours?”
“I will cut my hair super short for you. And Jessi and the boys will get haircuts, too, and we could have a party. “Um, I think I’d like that. But if I get my head shaved, won’t I look like a boy?”
“KK, you are so pretty! No one would ever mistake you for a boy. And do you know what? If you get your head shaved, we’ll go to Target afterwards. You can pick out anything you like.” “Anything?”
“Okay. Yes. Sure!”
story has required great vulnerability, it is Nihcole’s hope that it might provide encouragement to someone else. “In sharing our family’s burden,” she states, “I’m hoping we can make someone else’s load lighter, even if it’s just in knowing they’re not alone. Kiersten has been so brave; we would really like something good to come of that.”
Nihcole simultaneously hopes to raise awareness of the disorder. “When we’re in the grocery store The party took place as planned and was every and people stare, Kiersten feels it. People don’t bit the grand event envisioned. There were high mean to be rude or unkind when they ask if she’s fives all around and bemused grins as each peered ‘in treatment,’ but it still stings,” she concludes. into the mirror. Slowly the world settled back into place. But the greatest assurance was yet to come. Meanwhile, KK is running with it. Her first colOakley, Kiersten’s older sister, had been unaware of or choice for a wig? Bright green. The new wig the plan, and as Oakley regarded her sister’s clean- though, when it arrives, will look just like her natuly shorn scalp, Nihcole held her breath. She knew ral hair. And no, you won’t be able to pick her out only too well how tactless an 11-year-old could be. of the class. Oakley gawped for a moment and then exclaimed in delight: “Oh Kiersten! You look just like an Egyp- Nihcole Koelzer contemplates organizing a care tian princess!” In that moment, Nihcole felt God’s group for those struggling with alopecia or hair hand settle on her shoulder. loss. If interested, you may contact her at Alopecia.firstname.lastname@example.org. Still, there remained the challenge of raising $1500. Like most Flathead families, the Koelzers About the author – Kay Burt: were stretched thin and the need was immediate. My roots run generations deep At the prompting of friends, Nihcole signed onto in the Flathead, with several sets “Go Fund Me,” an on-line site which raises money of great grandparents having for a variety of causes. She was skeptical, but there homesteaded the area. I grew weren’t many choices. up on a small farm in the Lower The results were just amazing. In the space of a few short days, the requisite amount flooded in. Some donors were friends, others strangers; some chose to remain anonymous. In what seemed a miracle, the family received the $1500 they’d so desperately needed. Even with such an infusion of hope, the Koelzers continue to adjust. They are profuse in thanking their friends and family—Jessi Way, in particular-and they are extremely grateful to Nez and Katie at Picture Me Perfect. And though sharing Kiersten’s
Valley, graduated from Flathead High and then from MSU (go Bobcats!) I was married to Gary for 33 years and enjoyed being a wife, mother and working interesting part-time positions. I currently work as a legal assistant with the firm of Moore, Cockrell, Goicoechea & Axleberg in Kalispell, a job that I love. My life has been a rich one, defined by my Christian faith, my family and some incredible friends. I have been blessed with three precious children—Justin, Brandon and Courtenay—and further blessed in the spouses they chose plus 11 amazing grandchildren.
Bestow & Tablescaping Written by Kristan Clark of Bestow Heart and Home Photographed by Camp-n-Cottage
Although February is the shortest month of the year, with holidays over, our resolutions waning and snow on the ground, 28 days can seem a very long time. March may be the longest month of all, as we wait for spring’s first blush. But I look forward to this little interlude between the seasons as a wonderful time to daydream, re-imagine and be inspired, finding charm in everyday items and trying new things to bring style into my home. There’s no pressure. I can experiment, create and daydream to my heart’s content.
This tablescape is a perfect example. A collection of eclectic items gathered together for a Valentines Celebration. Look closely and you’ll see that the pops of red are bits of ribbon and paper that could be switched out for any color, creating a whole new look for a different celebration…or just because.
The Elements Paper –
Don’t overlook this humble material. Today there are absolutely beautiful papers on the market that can add a unique and unexpected look to any table. Most papers are wider than the traditional table runner, providing a nice foundation for your tablescape. Best of all, clean up is a breeze. The pop of red on this table is inexpensive wrapping paper left over from the holidays. The graphic paper layered on top comes from France and depicts a reproduction of a French journal. Some papers are designed specifically for tables, but don’t let that limit your imagination. Once you start using paper on the table, you’ll return to it time and time again. You’ll no longer shop for paper just to cover packages or walls!
You can’t go wrong with white. You can dress it up or down, keep it simple or accessorize with bold color, silver or gold. Consider it the “little black dress” of the dinner table. This table has many variations of white; the paper runner, plates, napkins, little journals, candles, etc. The monochromatic scheme provides an opportunity to add layers of interest without it becoming overwhelming.
a French word meaning bell, or bell glass. Cloches were originally used to cover plants in the garden and are still used to protect tender plants today. Brought indoors, cloches become beautiful sculptures that can elevate the simplest of items to art. They come in all sizes, from very large to petite. Mix the sizes and arrange them at different heights by using platters or cake plates and you have an impressive center piece. Simple and unique items can be placed underneath to add interest or create a theme.
February and March, months sandwiched in between the busiest holiday season and much anticipated spring can be an unexpected time of creativity, warmth and love.
A Touch of It’s the unexpected that puts the final touch on our tablescape and why not have fun? Unique little egg cups are filled with a beautiful red French macaron from Sweet Notions. These tender mouth watering cookies will delight your guests. They’re placed on a small journal made of handmade paper. The journal opens to a heartfelt message for each guest. The cloches are filled with a variety of items; a collection of vintage inspired metal hearts, lovebirds and candles express the sentiment of this gathering, creating a wonderful atmosphere for your guests as you enjoy one another’s company.
Love Notes Years ago I read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Chapman concluded there are five ways that people express emotional love – five love languages.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Words of Affirmation Quality Time Gifts
Acts of Service Physical Touch
The table set for this issue of 406 Woman provides opportunity to express all these languages. After all, what can be better than sharing a wonderful meal at a beautiful table surrounded by the love and laughter of the special people in your life?
The love notes found in each journal are a special touch; words of affirmation given as a gift. A gift, that will not only bless the recipients, but as you express your feelings on paper, will touch your heart as well. Don’t reserve this opportunity for Valentine’s Day alone. I recently celebrated my birthday. The only presents I requested from my family were heartfelt notes. I never imagined the deep sentiments and humor that would be presented to me on bits of paper and folded cards. These will be tucked away, to be read and reread for many years. It was the best birthday, ever! Bestow Heart and Home 217 Main Street Kalispell, MT 406-890-2000 www.bestowheartandhome.com
Love notes; the simplest of gifts, forever treasured.
Joey & Rachel January 10, 2015
Photographed by Gia Goodrich of VEV Weddings vevweddings.com
Who are you?
Joey Arnold and Rachel Perjessy-Arnold. Joey grew up in California and Bellingham, WA. Rachel grew up in the Kalispell, MT. After graduating from high school, they both moved to Portland and found their dream jobs as personal trainers.
How did you meet? We both worked as trainers at 24 Hour fitness. We were out with the 24 Hour fitness crew and I fell head over heels for Joey. He was a gentleman, really funny, and a great dancer. Little did I know that he had had a crush on me too. After that we found any excuse to hang out. They say when you know that you have found the one you just know. Well we both knew from the beginning that I was his perfect and he was my perfect.
The Proposal? We were back in Montana for the Fourth of July holiday. On the day before we were planning to drive home, Joey and I wanted to spend the day alone together in Glacier National Park. It was his first time seeing the park and it is one of my favorite places. We drove up to the top of the Going to the Sun Highway, stopping along the way to take photos. Once we reached the top we found a place to have a picnic or rather scarf down a bit of a sandwich while sitting on the car. I noticed Joey didn't really eat, but figured it was because his stomach was upset. On our way back down Joey wanted to find the perfect viewpoint to stop to take more pictures. I got out of the car excited to just have a moment to gaze over the edge of the cliffs. That's when he grabbed my shoulders and moved me saying, "Stand right here." He turned me around, kneeled to one knee, pulled out the ring box shaking. He stated simply "I love you and you make me so happy. Will you marry me?" What is love? Joey: Love is being able to be yourselves together. Love is putting each other’s happiness above all else, no matter what. Rachel: Love is accepting the other person for everything they are. Love is respecting the relationship and your partner. Love is feeling safe. Love is feeling like nothing else exists. Corny but true.
love} stories What do you love most about each other? Rachel: I love his big heart, his silliness, his mind... he is my perfect. Joey: I share the same sentiments, her big heart and slight dorkiness is what I fell in love with (among many other things).
When did you know you were in love? Rachel: From the very beginning. Joey: Yep. Fun facts: We are both competitors in Crossfit.
We have a cat named Stella, whom is the best cat in the world! Joey is competitively good at Chess. Rachel is a great swimmer!
Honeymoon plans: Not sure yet but it'll probably consist of some Crossfit and some awesome food.
Magical Day Photographer: Gia Goodrich of VEV Weddings Vision: Winter Wonderland White Hair: Krystal Shirtliff Heil Pre-Wedding: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake Venue: Casey's bar and grill Floral Designs: Rosemary Stafford Horse and Buggy Ride: Bar W Guest Ranch Menâ€™s Attire: Mens Warehouse, Vera Wang Wedding Dress: Jim Hjelm Wedding Shoes: Nina
Wedding bands: Fred Meyers Jewelry 82 406
Deven & Steve
September 20, 2014
Photographed by Marianne Wiest Photography www.mariannewiest.com
Who are you?
Deven Fullerton from Kalispell, MT and Steve Roberts from Williamsburg, VA.
We currently live in Spokane, WA. We both attended Gonzaga University. Steve is an attorney and Deven is a mental health counselor. How did you meet?
We met at a local college bar across from Gonzaga (Jack and Dan's). Both of us came separately with our group of friends to watch a Gonzaga basketball game and ended up sitting across the table from each other. Steve grew up an avid fly fisherman and duck hunter -- also a huge fan of A River Runs Through It. As soon as he heard Deven was from Montana, he was intrigued. With some help from friends, they ended up exchanging numbers, and the rest is history. The proposal?
Steve's family goes to The Outer Banks in North Carolina every year to spend a week or two in a beach house. Deven and Steve flew out to join them (July 2013). A few days into the trip, Steve took Deven out for a full day of adventures away from the family. After touring a lighthouse, they went to the beach in Coralla where wild horses live. They found a nice, secluded section of the beach to set up their beach chairs. Once they got settled in, Steve pointed out to the ocean, stating that he had seen some porpoises. After looking for the wildlife
without any luck, Deven turned to find Steven on one knee with a ring in his hand. After some sweet words, he asked her to marry him and she said yes. What is love?
Deven: Love can take many shapes and forms, but the love that lasts contains the right combination of friendship, intimacy, and commitment. It is when you make the choice, every day, to respect and cherish that person while recognizing that the challenges you face can be an opportunity to learn and grow as a unit -- all the while knowing that you are never in it alone. Steve: Love is knowing that there is no one else out there in the world that could make you feel more fulfilled and happy. When you've found a partner in life who will be there for you through the good and the bad. What do you love most about each other?
Deven: What I love most about Steve is his unwavering love and loyalty to his family and my family too. I also love that he can never get enough out of life -- he is always looking for new information and experiences to improve his life.
Steve: What I love most about Deven is that she consistently puts others needs above herself -- she is always sweet, patient, and loving.
When did you know you were in love?
Deven: I knew I was in love with Steve early on in the relationship. I remember there was a day about five months in where I realized I had no desire to look at the other options out there. It was as if I knew the search was over. Steve: The summer after we met, I had to take the bar exam -- one of the most stressful times in my life. During this period Deven provided me with an extra helping of kindness, affection, and understanding. She was (and still is) a calming influence in my life when all else seemed so chaotic. By the end of this period I was very much in love. Fun facts:
At one point in their lives, both Deven and Steve have wanted to be an archaeologist.
They both have a shared love for microbrews -especially beers brewed in Montana. They have both lived abroad -- Steve in South America and Deven in Europe. Honeymoon plans:
Hoping to take a trip to Belize, one of the Virgin Islands, or Hawaii this winter.
Magical Day Venue: Lake Mc Donald Lodge – one of our favorite places in the world! Photographer: Marianne Wiest Photography Florist: Conrad Floral for bouquets and boutonnières Caterer: Lake McDonald Lodge -- Xanterra Band: Christian Johnson Linens: Barn Door Event Rentals Rings: Blue Nile and Pounders in Spokane Cake: Cara Rathke, Mizpah Cupcakes Wedding Dress: Beautiful Weddings Bridal in Missoula Hair Stylist: Sara Groshong from Salon Jazlin
Suits/Tuxes: Xclusive Events
The Garden Bar
Recipe for Success
The Garden Bar “Spamorama!” By Denise Lang Photos by Lucy Williams. The Garden Bar is a living legend in Bigfork for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is the annual “Spamorama,” now in its 20th year! Owner, Mark “Mister” Langlois believes that Spam is “miracle meat in a can.” “The way it works,” he explains, “is anyone can show up with a spam entry. In the past, winners have been Spambalaya, Coconut Dipped Fried Spam, and Upsidedown Pineapple Spam Cake and there are prizes.”
Wherever the imagination goes, spam can, too! In addition, there is the Spam Carving contest. That really needs to be seen to be believed. But, oddly, Spam makes pretty good modeling clay. When you’re in the Garden Bar, check out the Spam Trophy Showcase. “Spamorama” is paired with the Bigfork Brewfest and will be held Saturday, March 7. Brewfest is from 3-7pm. Spamorama starts at 2pm.
I asked Mister how he came up with this unique and weird event. “I think up winter events to get people out of their houses.” The Garden (as the locals call it) is a safe and happy place to come, have a beer, cocktail or food and meet up with friends, and their hamburgers are the best!
If you have not been there, you are missing a Bigfork landmark. It’s full to the brim with character and characters! Mister calls it a “decorated dump.” But it is way more…kind of a history of the area-a trip down memory lane--in funky, cool bar décor. This is where old Bigfork signs go to live forever. In the bar and in the Beer Garden, there are hundreds of old signs, reminiscing Bigfork’s past over the last 50 years. Mister says, “When you make a sign, make a good one because it will probably end up at the Garden Bar.” I’ve known Mister for 15 years and he just gets happier all the time. His motto is, “I’m always happy because it’s just too much work to be mad. Life is good!” He grew up in Bigfork when Electric Avenue was gas stations, bars and a few art galleries and he never wanted to leave. As a teenager, Mister remembers when the
owners of the Bigfork Station forgot to turn off the pumps. “We got in our cars and drove around all night, just so we could gas up for free!”
Those gas stations have now given way to trendy shops, art galleries and restaurants, but the Garden Bar remains as one of the few businesses still run by the same owner and in the same place. Mister started working at the Garden in 1983, when it was just 10 bar stools plus the garden area in the back. There was no kitchen and the front was Electric Avenue Gifts and Books. He added a kitchen 15 years ago and put together the whole bar into the establishment it is now. If you eat there very often, you’ll know Phyllis. She’s been cooking at The Garden since 1988. By the way, the nachos are to die for. Every time I have them, I
The Garden Bar
have to go on a diet for a week! There’s plenty of seating, a great pool table, gambling machines and a cool jukebox – photo machine that you can program from your smart phone and post photos to Facebook. In the summer, the picnic tables and outside bar are full of customers of all ages from everywhere in the US. Note: The Garden Bar does not take credit or debit cards. It’s cash or checks only, but there is an ATM Machine in the bar for customer convenience! I can’t talk about the Garden Bar without tipping my hat to Mister. He is at the center of the village community – a leader and a great supporter of our small town. He serves on the Community Foundation for Better Bigfork, the Bigfork Water and Sewer Committee and the Bigfork Chamber. As he says, “Bigfork is a great, safe place to be and to grow up, and everyone takes care of each other.” So…put March 7th on your calendar, don your winter duds and bring your best spam recipe. Oh, did I mention, that the Garden is serving 25 cent beers at 5 on Fridays until the keg runs out?! Those are crazy ‘80s prices!
The Garden Bar is at 451 Electric Avenue in Bigfork Village. Call 406-837-9914 for information.
"I'm always happy because it's just too much work to be mad. Life is good!" -Mister
a y a l a b m pa
Recipe: Time 40 minutes - Serves 6
1 (12 oz) can SPAM Luncheon meat, cubed 1 cup onion ½ cup green pepper 2/3 cup chopped celery 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 (14 ½ oz) can Cajun style or regular stewed tomatoes 1 (10 ¾ oz) can lower sodium chicken broth ½ teaspoons dried leaf thyme 6 to 8 drops hot pepper sauce 3 bay leaves 1 cup rice 2 tablespoons chopped parsley In large non-stick skillet or 3-quart non-stick saucepan, sauté SPAM, onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme, hot pepper sauce, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; stir in rice. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley.
Denise Lang Your Recipe for Success Photo by John Stalowy
Denise Lang, Broker National Parks Realty 8270 MT. Hwy 35 Suite 5 Bigfork, MT 59911 DeniseLang@nationalparksrealty.com. Cell 406-249-1758
In the Pantry
Chocolate as Savory or Dessert? By Kristen Ledyard Owner/Executive Chef of John’s Angels Catering LLC
We have turned the corner to the New Year 2015. This year brings new wishes, new goals, and new opportunities. Let’s start that off with opening up new recipe horizons. Valentine’s Day is upon us, but this holiday is not only for sweethearts or dessert. Have some new fun with the following recipe for a themed appetizer. I know some of you are thinking white chocolate is not real chocolate, but I will let you decide. It is a by-product of cocoa butter and it adds distinctive flavor. Surprise your guests with the “new” chocolate that did come from the cocoa bean.
Appetizer - White Chocolate Baba Ghannouj 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled 4 medium eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 2/3 cup tahini 4 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled 2 Tbs finely chopped parsley 1 ½ tsp ground cumin 1 ½ tsp paprika Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Pomegranate seeds for garnish Toasted pita bread, for serving Heat over broiler on high. Place garlic and eggplants, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; broil until tender and charred all over, about 20 minutes for garlic, and about 40 minutes for eggplant. Peel garlic, seed eggplants, and scoop out flesh from eggplant; transfer to a food processor with lemon juice, tahini, chocolate, half the parsley, the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper; puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with remaining parsley and pomegranate seeds; serve with pita on the side for dipping. I like to add a dash of my favorite Caribbean hot sauce to enhance flavor to many dishes. It’s fun and healthy as well as a great surprise to your guest’s taste buds. We must have a main course and New York steaks are so perfect for this time of year. They are just the right fit in price and flavor. In using a mole sauce you can use dark chocolate for a bolder taste. Also, the rumors are true that it is good for you (in responsible portions, of course). It has been researched that it provides antioxidants to help the cardiovascular system, thus reducing blood pressure. Dark chocolate is also gluten free. For an outstanding dish, please utilize your outside grill for the steaks. Caramelizing or slightly charring the outside of your steak cuts will only enhance the overall entree. Be sure to serve your sauce on the side. I like to serve the sauce in a candle light vessel, as to not provide too much heat.
Dessert - Chocolate Soufflé 1 square (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate, broken up 1/3 cup hot milk
1 ½ Tbs cornstarch ¼ cup sugar 1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbs cold milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks, well beaten
2 egg white, beaten stiff but not dry Have ready – 1 ½ pint or 1 quart soufflé dish, buttered and dusted with sugar. Melt chocolate in hot milk over hot water. Blend together cornstarch, sugar and salt in saucepan. Add cold milk and stir to smooth paste. Stir in hot chocolate mixture gradually so that no lumps form. Cook and stir over medium heat until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract, and let cool 10 minutes. Gradually add beaten egg yolks, stirring briskly. Fold in beaten egg whites gently but thoroughly. Pour into prepared 1 ½ pint or 1 quart soufflé dish set in shallow pan containing about 1 inch of hot water. Bake in 350 F. (moderate) over for 30-40 minutes.
To finish up your amazing chocolate cuisine, a dessert is a must. I have to share with you that the following recipe came from a 60 year-old cook book given to me by my husband’s mother. The cook book is one of the dearest and most accurate cookbooks, I have ever received. Pay careful attention to the preparation, as it does not contain any fancy new equipment or ingredients. Trust me, you will be very proud of the end result.
Sauce - Blender Mole Sauce
(spoon over grilled meats) 1-14oz can tomatoes 1 chipotle chili, or more according to taste ¾ cup chicken broth ¼ cup almond butter ½ onion, peeled and quartered 2 cloves garlic, peeled 3 Tbs raisins 2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder 1 Tbs New Mexican ground red chili powder 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground cloves 1 tsp brown sugar salt to taste Place the stacked blade in the pitcher area and add all ingredients. Select speed 3 and slowly increase to speed 6. Transfer to a saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced, about 20-30 min.
It is a New Year! Time for new cooking with family and friends. We have so many more recipes to share together (and hints). Have a great 2015!!
MY WAY THROUGH PIKE PLACE MARKET By Leslie Budewitz, Author/Lawyer As a college student and later a young lawyer working in downtown Seattle, I tried to eat my way through the city’s famed Pike Place Market at least once or twice a week. I’d start at the front entrance with a slice of pizza from DeLaurenti’s walk-up window, browsing the covers of the magazines at the First & Pike Newsstand— eyes only until my hands were clean! I’d sip a sample cup of tea at Market Spice while watching the fishmongers throw salmon and amuse the crowd with their comedy routine, pick my produce and cheese for the week, and end with dessert—a hazelnut sablé from Le Panier, the French bakery, or a Nanaimo bar from a now-departed shop in the warren off Post Alley—then head back to school or my office. So naturally, when I thought about setting a mystery series in Seattle, the Market beckoned. Despite her name, Pepper Reece never intended to run a spice shop. But when her life fell apart, she found unexpected solace—and employment— in spice. Every season, she and her staff create a few blends to show off the Market’s fresh produce. Here’s a pairing for all seasons.
Herbes de Provence
A savory touch, to transport your taste buds.
Herbes de Provence are spectacular sprinkled on sautéed potatoes, rubbed on chicken before grilling, or best of all, in roast chicken and potatoes. Add them to a lamb or a vegetable stew—think eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini, maybe some cannellini (white beans). Use them to season homemade croutons or tomato sauce. Wrap a teaspoon of Herbes de Provence in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string to make an herb bouquet, also called a bouquet garni. Drop it into a small jar of olive oil for a few days to make an infusion for salads or sautés.
2½ tablespoons dried oregano 2½ tablespoons dried thyme 2 tablespoons dried savory 2 tablespoons dried crushed lavender flowers Pepper drew inspiration for this recipe 1 teaspoon dried basil from the potatoes and broccolini in the Market. A hybrid of traditional broccoli 1 teaspoon dried sage and gai lan, also called Chinese broccoli Mix spices in a small bowl. Store in a jar or Chinese kale, broccolini has long, slenwith a tightly fitting lid. Makes just over der stalks with small florets and kale-like leaves, and a peppery taste that holds up half a cup. well when cooked. If you can’t find it, use As with all herb blends, experiment traditional broccoli or broccoli raab. Trawith your own touches. Let your taste ditional broccoli can be hard to find with be your guide. Other frequent additions: the stalks intact, but the search is worth rosemary, sweet marjoram, or fennel seed. the effort. Use a paring knife or vegetable (Marjoram and oregano are distinct herbs peeler to cut out any knots and peel off but closely related and can be substituted the tough skin. Those stalks carry a lot of for each other in some recipes.) Try a flavor and vitamins and minerals. blend with whatever combination of the suggested herbs you have on hand. Then, If you don’t have a chance to pop into next summer, grow a pot of lavender on the Spice Shop for Herbes de Provence, your deck or in a sunny window! make your own with whatever you have
Potato and Broccoli Frittata
on hand. And don’t skimp on the Parmesan! If you need to cut it because you’re watching sodium—Parmesan is naturally low in fat—reduce the amount that goes in the egg mixture. The cheese on top broils to such lovely salty, crunchy perfection—you don’t want to miss that!
Preheat your broiler. If yours has variable settings, use the high setting and leave the rack in the middle of the oven. If your broiler is not particularly hot, raise the rack.
Add the olive oil, broccolini, onion, and Herbes de Provence to the potatoes in For dinner, serve with a green salad and the skillet. Continue cooking on the crunchy bread, and a white wine—a light stovetop on medium heat for about 2 non-oaky Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio, or minutes, turning frequently, until all the any white with a clean, crisp touch. vegetables are coated with oil and herbs. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover 8 to 10 small white potatoes (about the skillet, cooking about 3 minutes, until 10 ounces total), scrubbed and the broccolini has become mostly tender. quartered Beat the eggs with half the Parmesan 1 cup vegetable broth and the salt and pepper. Check the heat in your skillet; you may need to turn it ¼ cup olive oil way down to avoid frying the eggs in 8 ounces broccolini, trimmed and the next step. Pour the egg mixture over chopped into ½-inch pieces the vegetables. Cover and cook on the stovetop over medium-low until the eggs 1 small red onion, thinly sliced are lightly set, about 10 minutes. 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on 8 large eggs top and place the pan under the broiler, until the top is bubbly and golden, and 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese the eggs are just set throughout, about 5 ½ teaspoon salt minutes. ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Let cool slightly before slicing into wedges.
Place the potatoes and broth in a large Makes 8 servings. Wedges reheat beauti(10- to 12-inch) ovenproof skillet. On the fully for breakfast or lunch. stovetop, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, turning the potatoes often, until almost all of the stock has been absorbed and the potatoes are tender.
From the cover of
ASSAULT AND PEPPER: Just a pinch of murder...
Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer— until a murderer ends up in the mix… After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars. But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on her doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest Tory Finch, one of Pepper’s staffers, for murder. Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent; Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list… INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES! ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 3, 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime) Available for pre-order now
Leslie Budewitz writes the nationally-bestselling Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, set in fictional Jewel Bay, Montana, and the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, debuting in March 2015 with ASSAULT AND PEPPER (published by Berkley Prime Crime, a division of Penguin Random House). The only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction, she lives in Bigfork, Montana with her husband, Don Beans, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their Burmese cat, Ruff, an avid birdwatcher. Visit her at www.LeslieBudewitz.com or on Facebook as LeslieBudewitzAuthor
Sexy Wines By Karen Sanderson, Brix Bottleshop
Have you ever wondered why some wine descriptions seem to have risqué connotations? (I.e.: a racy, sultry pinot noir; a luscious, muscular cab?) As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be pondering which wine to choose for a romantic evening. Are the wine writers on to something? Is it possible for some wines to have aphrodisiac properties? Well, they don’t write those descriptions for nothing! Believe it or not, there is truth in those lusty wine words. According to the research of Dr. Max Lake, author of the book Scents and Sensuality, the aromas of certain wines can indeed spark arousal. Some wine aromas can actually replicate scents of the human pheromones that signal attraction in the brain. Dr. Lake found that scents of red wines with leather, meatiness and musk could resemble male pheromones. Female pheromones are best represented by earthy, sweaty, and doughy characteristics of wine. Furthermore, scents are guaranteed to stimulate the emotional senses. The reason for this is that the olfactory system is directly wired to the limbic system, the brain’s emotional memory bank. Consider it a bank of scent history where all your feelings of happiness, fear, and pleasure are stored. The two systems are neighbors, so the slightest hint of any scent can trigger an automatic response in us. Thus, everyone will have different reactions to the wines they smell and taste.
Top 10 Scents that Stimulate Attraction
1. Vanilla 2. Lavender 3. Sandalwood 4. Clove 5. Musk 6. Violets, Orchids, Jasmine 7. Orange, pink grapefruit 8. Oak, Mahogany 9. Cinnamon 10. Licorice Below is a list of wines that have literally rendered us weak in the knees with their arousing aromas and flavors. Champagne
When Marilyn Monroe said diamonds are a girl’s best friend, she could have just as easily said champagne. You know that giddy feeling you get from the bubbles that tickle your tongue and cause you to do away with all rational judgment? Sipped either on its own or as a mixer, sparkling wine is the queen of all aphrodisiacs. We couldn’t possibly pick just one, but if we had to, we’d go for Moet Imperial. If only because of their sexy ad campaigns.
Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2012
This romantic Sonoma chardonnay is everything you want in a sensual white wine. Its alluring pear notes and lemon butter finish make this an excellent starter to any evening. It covers all those pheromone bases that will keep you coming back for more.
La Spinetta Barbaresco 2012
This wine is supposedly effective on women. The handsome vintner oozes Italian charm. It is wildly
delicious and cavorts with your tongue in an almost teasing embrace. When ingested it would also leave a momentary flush in your face, which is a pleasant sensation not unlike the heat felt when effectively turned on.
Font Sarade Vacqueras, Cotes Du Rhone 2010
This bold Rhone is daring and leathery, with a sensual texture. The International Wine Cellar’s description says it best: “90 Points Opaque ruby. Opens up slowly to display scents of candied red fruits, flowers and Asian spices, with notes of underbrush. Sappy and penetrating, with deep raspberry and cherry flavors that gain weight with air. Closes spicy and long, with slow-mounting tannins adding grip.” -JR
Tomassi Amarone, Veneto 2008
This Italian gem teases with its supple tannins and fleshy texture. Wine writers say: “…dark fruit, prune and loads of moist chewing tobacco. It is overtly sweet in the mouth and will appeal to those who enjoy the power and opulence of this unique Italian wine.”
Revealing the Meanings to Sexy Wine Words Definitions as used by Robert Parker’s Advocate & Wine Spectator
Fleshy – Fleshy is a synonym for chewy, meaty, or beefy. It denotes that the wine has a lot of body, alcohol, and extract, and usually a high glycerin content. Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Hermitage are particularly fleshy wines. Full-bodied - Wines rich in extract, alcohol, and glycerin are fullbodied wines. Most Rhône wines are full-bodied.
Hot - Rather than meaning that the temperature of the wine is too warm to drink, hot denotes that the wine is too high in alcohol and therefore leaves a burning sensation in the back of the throat when swallowed. Wines with alcohol levels in excess of 14.5% often taste hot if the requisite depth of fruit is not present. Lean - The sense of acidity in the wine that lacks a perception of fruit.
Leathery - A red wine high in tannins, with a thick and soft taste. Lush - Lush wines are velvety, soft, richly fruity wines that are both concentrated and fat. A lush wine can never be an astringent or hard wine. Meaty - A chewy, fleshy wine is also said to be meaty.
Muscular - Wines described as muscular have traditionally been linked to bigger-style red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignons, Barolos and Super Tuscans, along with some Rhône blends. Musty – Earthy, musky, or lightly oaked wines would take on this characteristic.
Supple - A supple wine is one that is soft, lush, velvety, and very attractively round and tasty. It is a highly desirable characteristic because it suggests that the wine is harmonious. Sexy – What sexy means is so subjective, we’ll just go with this: a wine that is all of the above.
Sottimano Dolcetto d’Alba 2010
This light bodied seduction in a bottle has an exotic cedar and sandalwood-like spice with a sweaty sultry appeal. The wine writers say: “…packed with juicy blueberries, flowers and sweet spices. This round, fleshy Dolcetto is pure pleasure.” – 90 pts, Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate
Perrini Primativo 2012
The musk like aromas of this wine is perfumy and gorgeous. Notes of cedar and clove complement dried cherry flavors. The lingering velvety finish will keep you coming back for more.
Sequel Syrah, 2009
My description of this highly sought after Long Shadows wine would go like this: Sultry, robust, and downright carnal. Robert Parker’s description: “Chocolate, mocha and brown spice elements are prominent in the nose, creating confectionary expectations that are, at most,
only partly confirmed on an expansive, plush palate. There is primary dark berry juiciness along with hints of mint, black pepper, smoky black tea, and iodine to take this wine in a properly profound direction and offer counterpoint to its sense of sweetness.” 93pts
Beaux Freres Pinot Noir 2012
Pinots are by far one of the sexiest red wines on earth. They are known for their wild earthiness (read: dirty, but in a good way) silky, plush and opulent. Wine Spectator 93 Points says: “The satiny texture lets the harmonious flavors of red berry, pomegranate and spice unfurl evocatively. The finish lingers enticingly. Shows freshness and balance.”- H.S When it comes to shopping for your love potion #9 this month, the most important question we pose is this: Why buy the sexy wines just once a year? If you want to keep the spark alive, try adding champagne Fridays to your weekly menu. You won’t be sorry!
Karen Sanderson is the proprietor of Brix Bottleshop at 101 E Center St #102 in Kalispell. (406) 393-2202, www.brixbottleshop.com
Pilates Moves Me
Exhale Pilates Celebrates
By Delia Buckmaster
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” - Steve Jobs As long as I can remember I’ve wanted “We are a fitness studio that believes Pilates to inspire people through fitness. JK. The and its principles teach body awareness, truth is that I wanted to be an interna- good posture and athletic, graceful movetional lawyer, speak fluent French, and ment that can be incorporated into any live in a brownstone on the East Coast. workout program.” Doesn’t that sound sophisticated? But life had a different plan for me. I am Exhale Pilates+ (formerly Exhale Pilates Studio) an example of someone who turned a offers a multitude of classes and programs. It feagenuine passion into a career. tures Pilates rehabilitation, nutrition and hip fitness I discovered Pilates almost 16 years ago. It was offered in the quaint Whitefish Yoga Center (now Reecia’s Salon) on Lupfer Avenue. I took one class and hated it, not because of the instructor or the method, but because it was hard. It was my first introduction to mind/body exercise and I was humbled.
It took me almost a year to return to the Yoga Center and by that time I was determined. I took all the classes offered, including yoga. The more I went, the more it consumed me. I became stronger, more flexible, and most importantly, I started to gain confidence. The reason I was frustrated in the beginning was because of my insecurities. I was expecting to get stronger from the outside in. Mind/body exercise makes you stronger from the inside out. And that is when everything changed. Pilates moved me.
leading to improved fitness and health. This can be carried out in a mat class or with a Pilates apparatus. If you’ve never seen the apparatus, it looks torturous. In fact, it’s the opposite. Well, sometimes it’s painful, but only in a good way.
2008: TRX® Suspension Trainer
Single-handedly the most versatile piece of exercise equipment to date and a perfect addition to the stuclothing and accessories. As a business owner, it was dio. The TRX Suspension Trainer leverages gravity important to evolve and be creative. Programs were and your bodyweight to perform hundreds of exnot brought in overnight and some took a year or ercise. You are in control of how much you want to more of research before adding them to the studio. challenge yourself on each exercise because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. TRX isn’t always a tool for torture. It actually supports you in some exercises that would be The Exhale Pilates+ Timeline: incredibly challenging, so your form is much better.
In my opinion, Pilates is the foundation for fitness. The main goal of Pilates is to return our bodies to a functional level, strengthening the muscular system from the core to the periphery, focusing mostly on the small stabilizing and postural muscles. Pilates is based on functional movements and the ability to control your body under a large variety of demands
I discovered barre classes in 2008 and quickly became addicted. There is a reason why these classes have become so popular in the fitness industry. I worked diligently to find a program. The Booty Barre™ has a strong Pilates foundation and was the perfect fit. This class is a unique, fun, high-energy
class. It fuses legendary fitness techniques from Pilates, ballet, calisthenics and yoga. These techniques are designed to streamline, firm, tighten and tone muscles and re-align the body without adding bulk. This helps to create balance, posture, body awareness, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.
equipment that is largely ignored in the gym is probably one of the most effective ones. 60% legs, 20% core, and 20% arms, it is a seriously awesome workout. It loads the back of the body and the water resistance flywheels make it the most similar to rowing in water.
Clean eating has become very trendy and a missing component to a healthy lifestyle for most. One of the greatest things I learned through my Health Coaching program is “bio-individuality.” No two people are the same, and not one dietary theory works for everyone. Worth mentioning is that if there was answer, this wouldn’t be a billion dollar industry. When considering a lifestyle change, make sure that you are working with someone who understands your needs. Once you realize that it is a lifetime goal and not a short-term goal, you will succeed.
It was time to bring in new blood and mentor others to teach Pilates. So, we created a wonderful space where others can make a career out of their passion. Thirteen plus years ago I was alone, traveling for courses and workshops and watching DVD’s. It would have been awesome to have a facility like Exhale in Whitefish to learn, watch, and practice. We are now the only Host Facility for Body Arts and Science Institute (BASI Pilates) in the state of Montana. We graduated eight Pilates Apprentices last year and hope for another successful course in 2015.
2014: Pilates Education
What piece of equipment could we bring in that Today: Pilates Equipment Group Classes works as an antagonist to most of our cardio rou- A natural transition, we are now offering Pilates tines? Indo Row. An intimidating piece of exercise Group Equipment classes. Focusing on strength, en-
durance and flexibility, EP+ reformer class will be a fusion of traditional Pilates and dynamic strength training to achieve a full-body workout. Best of all, it will allow clients a more affordable way to play on Pilates equipment.
I look back on the last 10 years and can’t believe what Exhale has become. There have been so many changes in my life professionally and personally. Many sleepless nights and lots stressful days. I never expected to grow a business out of a passion, but I did. Eleven years ago I began training clients out of my basement. My very first client is still with me today. Will it continue to grow? I hope so. Will there be more programs and great things to come? Most definitely! Thank you, thank you, thank you to an incredible staff (past, present, and future), unbelievable mentors, supportive friends, loving family, and amazing loyal clients. Love and gratitude, D
‘OK’ the Fear By Kristen Pulsifer
One beautiful day, about 8 years ago, I was playing in our sandbox with my daughter who was only a year old at the time. As we finished filling our buckets and shaking sand from a diaper, not mine, we walked up the steps towards our door to call it a day. As I reached for the door, my not so articulate one year old started yelling, “nak”, “nak!” “Yes”, I said, as if I understood. “A ‘nak’. Wait….what?” I looked to where she was pointing, and sure enough, a ‘nak’, translated… a snake. Granted, it was a simple garter snake, no poison, no fangs, but regardless, it was a snake! I have a huge fear of snakes, so I did what any caring mother would do- I pushed my daughter to the side and ran into the house. Now, before anyone passes any judgments, I did catch myself rather quickly, but only after the snake entered the house. After I regained my composure, I made it back to my daughter, brushed the little squiggly friend back out the door and closed us both, together, inside. But, I can’t say I would do anything any different if it happened again, and it has become a huge joke with my whole family regarding how afraid I actually am of snakes. I tell you this to express a fear that I have. We all have them and encounter many of them every day. But, what keeps those fears under control and managed, especially in our children? I watch my own children, and those I work with as clients, and I can’t really identify any logic behind why people have certain fears at a young age. I know that some children fear things because of negative experiences they have had with situations, while some seem to simply develop them instinctually. Or, children may see either an adult or friend (someone they trust) react fearfully towards certain things and adapt that fear because they trust the adult’s reactions. Regardless of why they develop particular fears, I am in the business of helping to manage the fears or anxieties of my children and clients as they walk through either my home or office door. The best tool I have found in managing fears and anxieties in my own children and clients is acknowledgement. When a child cries because they are scared, part of that fear comes from the unknown. Also, fear is something so few people truly understand, so the reaction of fear itself creates a great deal of anxiety. When my child is scared, I
am quick to say, “I understand why you’re afraid – that is scary.” When working with students who are afraid of school, teachers or tests, I question them a bit as to why they feel afraid and then, once again, am always quick to say, “I understand. That is a valid fear and concern.” As soon as I calmly acknowledge and ‘OK’ their fear, it is amazing the change in disposition that I immediately see. The tears subside, worry lines decrease, and an acceptance of guidance and help ensue. Sometimes empathizing and telling a story of a time you feared a similar situation might help. Fear is a lonely place, and if you can provide constructive assistance, in that lonely place, the anxiety associated with particular fears can be eliminated. Eliminating anxiety associated with fears is part of the battle. School related fears, such as test anxiety and fear of seeking assistance from a teacher are similar. Most of the time the fear comes from not knowing what the outcome will be, or building up a negative outcome as way to attempt to manage something a person may have very little control over. Helping validate and acknowledge these anxieties is truly the first step. Letting students know it is ok to feel this way is a must in order for them to open the
door to help. As fears deepen and become more serious, there are many other steps that need to take place in an attempt to manage and control fears, but a person has to feel safe in order to allow someone in, to assist them in managing what they fear. Acknowledgement and a feeling of validation is a solid starting point. People, young and old, like to feel ‘ok’ or validated when anxiety, fear and frustration are felt. Most people want to be either calmed or know that what their feeling isn’t foreign. Feelings of fear, in particular function this way. If there had been a friend close by when I attempted to ditch my child to the fate of a monstrous snake, that sunny day after the sandbox, maybe I would have reacted more calmly and avoided now having my own child fear snakes. But, I am working through my own fear now – every time I see a snake I have to remain calm for my daughter and help her understand snakes, and how they truly are just as afraid of us as we are of them. Helping her has forced me to talk through my own fear, acknowledge and validate it and work through it. We both can laugh a little each time we shiver scream and run… and thankfully, laugh, together.
Whitefish Study Center is pleased to offer the following courses and workshops: SAT Prep – Prepare for the SAT with Kaplan trained James Jennings Session I: February 3 – March 12 Session II: March 6 - April 23 *Private tutoring always available Workshops: Dyslexia – How to Study, How to Organize February 28 Chase Taylor, Denver University, BA, MA Test Anxiety – What It Is and How to Manage It March 7 Jordan Scotti, School Psychology PhD
The High Standards of
Steve Tyrell By Miriam Singer
Steve Tyrell with his five-piece band Saturday, March 28th, 2015 7:30pm
WHITEFISH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Tickets $29 - $32 - $35 - $37 Purchase tickets at www.SingerandSimpson.com or www.Tix.com or call 406.730.2817 Sponsored by Don “K” Subaru and brought to you by Singer and Simpson Productions. Much thanks to the Daily InterLake, The Lodge at Whitefish Lake and Joel Pemberton at Edward Jones in Whitefish for your support.
Steve Tyrell knows a good song when he hears it, and how to bring out its charm. He should since he’s had a very successful career producing hits for other people. Tyrell scored a hit with Dionne Warwick’s version of the movie title track “Alfie.” He co-produced “Somewhere Out There” for the movie “An American Tail” sung by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram. And he co-produced “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” for the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” which went on to win the 1969 Oscar for Best Original Song.
featured performer with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at their season opening concert in which Frank Sinatra was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and reprised that performance at Carnegie Hall. It was one of the rare times the Sinatra family shared original Sinatra arrangements with another artist.
But it wasn’t until he sang in the movies himself that Steve Tyrell was recognized for his own singing. It was his voice you heard romantically crooning “The Way You Look Tonight” on the soundtrack for the 1991 movie “Father of the Bride” starring Steve Martin which catapulted his singing career. President Clinton danced with his daughter Chelsea to a recording of Steve singing that song at her wedding.
All nine of Tyrell’s American Standards albums have achieved top 10 status on Billboard’s Jazz charts, seven of which have achieved top five, and his first album “A New Standard” was amongst the best selling jazz albums for over five years.
Tyrell’s rapid rise as a singer is a Cinderella story, but he worked for many years building a strong foundation as a producer collaborating with luminaries like Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, Bette Midler and Stevie Wonder. He even produced an album with the late Andy Griffith that won the Grammy in 1995 for Gospel Album of the Year. Onstage, Steve loves to warmly tell personal stories about the music’s history while he sings a new chapter of his own, like the one about how George Gershwin inspired Jimmy Van Heusen and Dorothy Fields to write “I’m in the Mood for Love.” Ask him. The giants in the industry trust his ear and love his voice, which is why Quincy Jones and the Sinatra family selected Steve as the
In 2005, after the passing of the legendary Bobby Short, Steve was asked by New York City’s Café Carlyle to take over their Holiday Season of November and December, which Mr. Short had not missed for 36 years. Regis Philbin said, "My favorite place to go in New York is to see Steve Tyrell at the Cafe Carlyle."
Steve sings jazz standards with the heart that made them standards in the first place, infusing them with the stylings they call for, be it pop, R & B or soul. Though the songs are familiar, he makes you feel like you're hearing them for the first time. “He wins over the room the oldfashioned way, by taking a solid song and doing it justice.” -Jazz Times He honors the music and the composers by choosing the best songs and making them better by being true to himself and the diverse musical culture that influenced him. “Nothing makes me happier than to see this music coming back.” Steve Tyrell said. “It’s the greatest contribution America has made to the arts.” And Steve Tyrell is playing his part in keeping it alive.
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Randy Van Beek
Garnet & Saphire
The Red Barn
WillWork For Food
Providing a Respite From Long Winter Nights
Glacier Symphony Concerts By Marti Ebbert Kurth
Winter is a time for introspection and music offers a powerful resource for easing us through the long dark, cold nights. The Glacier Symphony and Chorale will offer two distinctly different concerts in February and March that should go a long way towards soothing the savage beast of snow and cold and at the very least will be a wonderful diversion as we move steadily towards spring and brighter days. On February 21 and 22nd the Glacier Symphony will welcome violin master David Halen, concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony and the Aspen Festival Orchestra to the stage. David has appeared previously with the GSC and this time he will be featured as soloist in one of the rarely performed works by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, the Violin Concerto in A. This violin concerto is not performed as often as Dvorak’s symphonies, overtures and dances it does however have an interesting history. Music Director of the GSC, John Zoltek, explains that Dvorak composed it in 1883, inspired by the talented Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim. “Unfortunately Joachim wasn’t impressed (with the work) and never played it. The reasons for this are curious, as it is full of wonderful Dvorak melodies and invention. Perhaps it’s the lack of ‘fireworks’ and technical acrobatics?” You can be certain that David Halen will masterfully interpret this delightful concerto. The finale for this concert, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1“Winter Dreams,” will definitely illustrate our Montana winter! The music is written in four movements two of which he aptly titled: Dreams of a Winter Journey and Desolate Land, Land of Mists. The work is filled with grand crescendos of violins and horns and Tchaikovsky said of the work that “though it is immature in many respects (he wrote it quite early in his career) it is essentially better and richer in content than many other more mature works.” The concert will open with “Raiders of the Lost Ark March” in a tribute to contemporary composer John Williams. “This famous march perfectly captures the self-assured but all too human Indiana Jones character, as he strides through this film escaping one peril after another … until he is triumphant,” Zoltek says. The “Splendid Reveries” concerts will be held Saturday, February 21 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 22, at 3:00 pm at Flathead High Performance Hall in Kalispell. As with all GSC Masterworks concerts, all youth through grade 12 are admitted free to this concert when accompanied by an adult. Tickets must be reserved in advance by calling 407-7000 or on the web at www.gscmusic.tix.com.
David Halen’s impressive resume begins with his Fulbright scholarship at age 19 for study at the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik in Germany. He was the youngest recipient ever to have been honored with this prestigious award. He was named concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony in 1995 after serving as assistant concertmaster to the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Currently he is a professor of violin at the University of Michigan and during the summer, Halen teaches and performs extensively, serving as concertmaster at the Aspen Music Festival. He has also soloed, taught and served as concertmaster for numerous orchestras both in the US and Europe. His numerous accolades include the 2002 St. Louis Arts and Entertainment Award for Excellence.
Meet the violinist at Symphony Soloist Spotlight An opportunity to meet this prolific musician informally and hear him play solo violin works, will be on Thursday, February 19, at 7:30 pm at the Glacier Symphony and Chorale music recital room, 69 N. Main. Street, Kalispell. Seating is limited; reserve tickets at 407-7000.
Marching Into Paradise with the full orchestra and chorale
The March concert Into Paradise brings the power of the full orchestra and chorale onstage for not one but two monumental symphonic choral works. The first is the Requiem Mass in D minor by Gabriel Fauré, followed by Ave verum corpus (Hail true body) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Fauré piece evokes a French Catholic atmosphere with its chant-like musical lines reminiscent of a Latin mass in memory of the departed. Fauré himself said of the work, “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which is … dominated by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.” Mozart’s choral motet was composed in 1792 six months before he died while he was also writing The Magic Flute and La clemenza di Tito. Maestro Zoltek says he chose to compliment the two spiritual pieces by Fauré and Mozart with two outstanding examples of John Williams’ deeply felt music Three Pieces from the movie Schindler’s List and Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan. “Both of these pieces are excellent examples of a film composer finding a direct music path into our most emotional places. For different reasons, the two pieces above strike a powerful chord of humanness that cannot fail to deeply affect both those who are performing and those who are listening,” Zoltek explains. Into Paradise will be performed on Saturday, March 14, at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 15 at 3 pm at Flathead High Performance Hall in Kalispell.
Stop Being a Conflict Avoider
Find Your Voice and Play Big! By CrisMarie Campbell
I coach bright, competent, accomplished women who are weenies when it comes to dealing with conflict in their key relationships, both at home and at work. Yes, their relationships may look good on the outside. Even their work is impressive, but these women are exhausted trying to meet the demands of everyone around them. The reason it all looks good on the outside is that these women spend vast amounts of energy managing around potential conflicts, but with a severe cost to themselves. They believe they have no choice, they feel trapped and powerless, and they think it’s all up to them to make happen. It’s sad to see these women give up so much of themselves, erroneously thinking they have no choice.
How Do I Know?
I was one of those women. For years, I thought my significant other had an anger problem, my job was too demanding, and my boss was overbearing. I was exhausted, miserable, and felt so terribly alone. These women are what I call
Let’s Look How Angie Avoids Conflict
On Monday morning Angie’s boss told her she’d have to work late on Thursday. Angie agreed to do it, but she wasn’t looking forward to telling her husband Travis that their date night was going to have to be cancelled. He was always so reactive. Monday Evening Angie lay the groundwork with Travis Monday night at dinner. Angie: “Geeze, my boss is being such a pain. He’s demanding that we work more hours to get this project done.” Travis: “Seems like he’s always asking you for extra work. I don’t know why you don’t ask to be switched off that project.” Angie: “Are you going to watching any games this week?”
These women don’t yet understand is that conflict isn’t a problem to be solved, managed, or avoided. It is a natural part of any healthy relationship and provides an opportunity to speak up, show up, and engage with another adult who has a different opinion, perspective, or desire. To some, this view of conflict seems obvious, but to real Conflict Avoiders, any sign of conflict is threatening. A sense of threat floods the body, and they will do anything to resolve it – even if it means throwing themselves under the bus. I worked hard to overcome my Conflict Avoider tendency. Years later, I’ve found my own voice, my own power, and my tolerance to hang in during conflict. As a result, I have a sense of freedom and empowerment. (Well, most of the time.)
Fast-Forward to Thursday Morning
Today, I can easily spot the Conflict Avoiders on the teams we consult with. I coach them to reclaim their voice and their power – both professionally and personally.
Angie: “Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, but I’m going to have to work late tonight. I can’t do our date night.”
Are You a Conflict Avoider?
Travis: “I haven’t really thought about it.”
Travis, frustrated: “That sucks! Why didn’t you tell me earlier? I could have made other plans. I hate that you always tell me at the last minute.” Angie, trying to stay positive: “I asked Sharon if Hank wanted to watch the football game with you tonight.” Travis exploding: “What the f**k! Oh, my God, stop managing me! I don’t like Hank. Plus, I’m not interested in tonight’s game. We had plans.” Angie, feeling defensive: “Why do you have to be so inflexible?! You think I want to do this? This is my job. I don’t want to miss date night either. I have no choice, and here you are making me wrong!” Travis: “I bet you didn’t even tell your boss you had a conflict. Did you?” Angie just looked defeated.
What Conflict Avoiders Don’t Know
Through the years, I’ve found that Conflict Avoiders often share a set of similar beliefs and strategies. Take the two tests below to see if you come out as a Conflict Avoider.
Conflict Avoider Belief Checklist Conflict Avoiders tend to assume or believe that: A “good” relationship is one where is everything is smooth. A difference of opinion is a very dangerous situation. If someone is upset, it’s not safe. When someone is upset, it is my responsibility to fix it. If you checked two or more of the four boxes, you’re probably a Conflict Avoider.
Conflict Avoider Strategy Checklist
Conflict Avoiders work hard at trying to minimize other people’s reactions to new or changing plans, direct feedback, or news. They utilize a variety of strategies in an attempt to get the message across while softening the blow, including:
Hinting – Rather than saying anything directly, Con-
flict Avoiders hint at the issue, hoping the other person will pick up on it. This is what Angie was doing when she talked about how demanding her boss was.
Asking questions – If hints don’t work, Conflict
Avoiders move to asking leading questions rather than making statements about themselves, hoping the other person will put the pieces together. Angie also utilized this strategy, when she asked Travis if he was going to be watching any games.
Burying the lead – In this strategy, the Conflict Avoider disguises the important information by mixing it in with other information. Procrastinating – Conflict Avoiders will wait until the last minute to say something, praying that somehow they won’t have to say anything at all. Unfortunately, this strategy often backfires, causing an even bigger reaction. Angie could have told Travis on Monday night about the Thursday conflict, yet she waited until Thursday morning. Blurting–
Conflict Avoiders are so uncomfortable talking about things directly that they blurt out what they have to say in front of people who may not be involved.
Thinking they know best, Conflict Avoiders pre-manage a scenario to try to compensate for the change. Angie did this by seeing if Hank wanted to watch the game with Travis. If you regularly or repeatedly use three or more of these strategies, you’re probably a Conflict Avoider.
What Conflict Avoiders may not realize is that all of the strategies they use to keep things smooth are really ways of not having to deal with the other person’s reaction. In fact, these strategies are designed to control or manipulate people and situations. Hmm, funny, isn’t it? The very complaint these women have about those demanding, overbearing people in their lives – that they’re too controlling – is the goal of their own conflict avoidance strategies.
How To Become a Straight Shooter
In my own journey from Conflict Avoider to Straight Shooter (okay, closer to straight shooter – I’m a work in progress!) I had to learn things that were foreign to me. Who better to ask for help with this issue than someone who considers conflict a natural part of relating? Susan Clarke, my partner, is that person for me. She, and others like her, have a set of Straight Shooter beliefs and strategies:
Straight Shooter Beliefs l A difference of opinion is a natural thing.
l They believe: “I don’t have to agree, fix, or manage the other person.” (Wow.) l Though not always comfortable, emo-
tional reactions, even strong ones, don’t need to be avoided.
I know, right?! Unbelievable. So what type of strategies do these people use?
Straight Shooter Strategies Say what you think, feel, and want directly. They see their situation or opinion as their own truth not the absolute truth. I’m often surprised that my opinionated partner, Susan, will actually shift her opinion based on other input. (Including mine!) Let people react without trying to take it away or fix it. They simply give people the space to have their own reactions. In fact, they often listen and reflect back how they believe the person is feeling, without making the other person’s reaction wrong.
Don’t take the blame They consider the other person to be an able, resourceful adult who can solve problems on their own or in partnership. Amazingly, they don’t seem to believe that they are unsafe if someone is distant (upset with them).
Back To Angie
Hopefully, looking back at the original scenario, you can now detect the signs that Angie is suffering from being a Conflict Avoider. This is not to say that her husband isn’t at times demanding, overly loud, or angry. But Angie plays a part in his reaction when she doesn’t take responsibility for speaking up and saying what is true, early and directly. She does the same thing with her “demanding” boss, by not telling him she has a personal conflict. Imagine if Angie had not avoided conflict. Angie: “Travis, I don’t like it, but I have to work Thursday night. I’m not willing to say no to my boss this time, so I have to cancel our Thursday date night. I imagine you might be upset, but I wanted to let you know. If you need to vent, go ahead.” Travis may get angry, but now he can decide how he wants to spend his Thursday night and if he wants to fight about this issue for the next few days.
I say to you Conflict Avoiders out there: It is up to you. You can continue to try to meet the demands of everyone around you or you can realize that you can speak up and say what you think, feel, and want directly and early. Yes, people will have feelings and reactions, but you don’t have to take that away from them. The other person is an able, resourceful adult. So are you.
CrisMarie Campbell is a coach and consultant at thrive! inc. She works with business teams that are stuck in unhealthy conflict, and helps them get real, get clear, get aligned, and produce great business results. She also helps women in leadership confidently find their voice, create relationships that work, and do what matters most. Contact her at email@example.com.