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Outlook July 2016
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Outlook July 2016
The Messy Guest From the top of the stairs, I peer into my guest room and I can see it’s a mess. Just a few weeks ago it was tidy and clean—like the kinds I always would see in the home magazines Sandy and I subscribed to. House Beautiful, Empty Nest Homes, Kids Moved Out Journal (okay, I made up two of those titles). Now my perfect guest room is cluttered with chaos—piles of clothes, belongings, bedding and 12 year-old girl stuff. My granddaughter Aubrey is visiting. Aubrey used to live nearby. And for many years she lived here in this house. Now she lives in Colorado. We’re having a good visit, it’s nice to have her here again. She tells me she misses her Mimi. We talk about it. She asks me if I’m okay a lot. Almost to the point of it being annoying—but it’s what she needs to do. If I’m doing okay, I tell her so. If I’m not, I’m not, and I share that also. Life is messy. Not a tidy guest room. She’ll be flying home soon. I will miss watching the Walking Dead with her. I will miss her asking to sleep in my bed because we watched the Walking Dead. I will miss her spontaneous hugs, her growing maturity and her childlike wisdom. Her easygoing nature and her likeness to her Mimi.
28 Roasting for a Reason Pilot, philanthropist, coffee roaster— Sharie Wilkins is making an impact
Love of Family!
I notice in the middle of all this mess is a board game in mid-play. I smile, it’s the Game of Life. She asked me not to disturb it. She told me she’s playing it by herself. I think… me too. And I’m getting the hang of it.
Boutique Bounty Specialty shops reflect new food culture
Tailored Living St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
30 My Outlook
Josh Hargis, Mr. Yeti’s Snowballs
16 A Cause Beyond the Crown Local young women use pageantry to serve others
20 A Rockin’ School
Edmond’s newest music school taps the inner musician in students of all ages
22 Celebrating Life
26 Prairie Fashion
Cancer patients, survivors and supporters create art as an outlet, presented in the Celebration of Life Art Show by INTEGRIS
Favorite looks for the hottest summer concerts Front cover photography by Marshall Hawkins
Dave Miller, Publisher, Back40 President
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Love of Family! by Louise Tucker Jones
Wow! July is here which means half the summer has passed. Almost anyway. This summer has been filled with fun activities, or at least will be before it’s over. As I write this story, I have already been to one family reunion in Claremore—the Farrill gang on my mother’s side. What a good time we had at the lake, getting acquainted with cousins’ kids and grandkids and reuniting with relatives we hadn’t seen in years. Then in the middle of this month I will attend the Tucker side in Stigler and do the same thing all over again, but with different people. June brought the Jones reunion and I still love my late husband’s family as if they were my own and thankfully they feel the same about me. I truly enjoy family. I have relatives from all over the country. Some I have never met and probably never will. But even though we didn’t grow up together, many of us have connected on Facebook and have become bosom buddies. Family is important, but not everyone has to be a blood relative to be considered part of your kindred folks. Another important event taking place this summer is my high school reunion. Having attended a small, country school where everyone knew each other, we have an all school reunion every three years. Not only do I see lots of friends from long ago, I get to be with my life-long girlfriends. A couple of years ago some of my high school girlfriends and I decided to get together at least once a year so we descended on
Outlook July 2016
Bentonville, Arkansas for our first YaYa Reunion. We had a ball. Gaylen came from Stigler, Oklahoma. Yolanda drove down from Nixa, Missouri. Aundrea was a hop, skip and jump away in Fayetteville, Arkansas and I was in Bentonville already, visiting my oldest son and his family. Yolanda and Gaylen have been in my life forever. Neither of us remembers a time when we didn’t know each other. We met Aundy in grade school. Then last year Bobbye joined our gang in Arkansas, coming from McKinney, Texas. She moved to our little community as a sophomore in high school and we became forever friends. In fact, my mother let me go on my first car date because we double-dated, my brother being her date. This year we will all meet at our high school reunion just north of Henryetta, Oklahoma and Mary, another life-long friend, will join us. The six of us will visit our old school and act like teenagers again. We will laugh and cry together about all that has happened during this last year. We support each other no matter what. There have been many things to celebrate through the years. Marriages, children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. And there have been sad and difficult times. Three of us are widowed. Some of us have lost children. Some have gone through divorces. There have been illnesses and other storms of life. We are not untouched, but we wrap our arms around each other, whether in real life or on a Facebook chat. We are definitely family. And if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, as my daddy would say, I hope to take one more family trip this summer or fall. I plan to join my children and grandchildren on the beach where I will walk barefoot on sugar-white sand with aqua water lapping at my ankles and a salty sea breeze blowing my hair. Now that, my friends, will be paradise!
About the Author Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker and founder of the organization, Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. Email LouiseTJ@cox. net or visit LouiseTuckerJones.com.
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Outlook July 2016
Boutique Bounty Specialty shops reflect new food culture
Debra Blakley, Able Blakley and Kari Blakley, owners of Savory Spice Shop
by Laura Beam
For years I wasn’t sure what it meant to be a foodie, but I envied the cool moniker just the same. I envisioned someone who whipped up fabulous French sauces or knew all the best eateries in Italy or could throw together an outrageous feast with a few common pantry ingredients. I qualified on none of those levels. I’ve since learned that a foodie is a person with a refined interest in food, regarding it as a hobby rather than mere sustenance chosen out of convenience or hunger. By that definition, is anyone today not a foodie? Just try planning an office lunch or family get-together. It’s like taking a crash course in health, diet and environmentally-conscious eating. Yet, it’s an exciting time in our expanding food culture as most of us seek new ways to maintain healthy lifestyles full of vibrant menu options. No one embraces and furthers the cause with such passion as local specialty food shops. As owner and operator of Savory Spice Shop in OKC, Able Blakley says, “People are realizing what’s in their food and are taking
extra steps, going to different stores for the best ingredients.” One step into his bustling shop and the aroma alone will make you want to hang out, shop, learn and cook with a whole new enthusiasm! Aromatic spices fill the air and a world of flavor is suddenly at your fingertips. Boasting 500 spices, all gluten and MSG-free, with no filler and no anti-clumping agents, this boutique franchise is the only dedicated spice shop of its kind in Oklahoma. Though the franchise originates in Denver, CO, Able’s store, which he owns with his wife Kari Blakley and his mother Debra Blakley, is very much a local endeavor with his own heart and soul invested in bringing quality spices to everyday cooks and chefs. “With typical spices, there is no regulation as to how long they can sit on a store shelf. Since the essential oils break down when they’re ground, they lose flavor and intensity,” Able explains. But at Savory Spice Shop, spices are ground fresh in Denver and shipped within days in small bags. Opened nearly four years ago, the shop features continued on next page
Boutique Bounty, cont.
two or three versions of all the most frequently used spices, plus specialties like six or seven paprikas, including Hungarian, Spanish and Californian. Italian and Latin spices and no-sugar curry blends are also favorites. Best of all, you can smell and taste them all and each jar has a recipe on it. Corporate gift boxes are also popular, especially the Oklahoma collections. The Great Plains Bison Rub is a peppery blend with notes of coffee, cumin and coriander and the Panhandle Chicken Fried Steak seasoning is great in everything from burgers and chicken to steak and pinto beans. Able even offers special cooking events by request. His Barbados fish tacos, guacamole and three different kinds of salsa are one of his crowdpleasing lineups! Another specialty food shop in OKC reflects not only today’s growing interest in quality foods but the producers and methods behind them. Olive & Co., opened in December 2012, features ultrapremium, extra virgin olive oils, beautifully aged balsamic vinegars and gourmet groceries. Owner Maggie Peterson partnered with co-founder Rane Peterson in a passionate effort to educate the public on truth in labeling and offer customers quality artisan goods. “We guarantee that all extra virgin oils sold in our store not only meet but often surpass all current USDA/FDA standards,” Maggie comments. The superior flavor of Olive & Co.’s oils is evident the minute you sample these extraordinary products. Extra virgin, fused, infused and specialty oils line the expansive tasting bar, along with dark and white
Outlook July 2016
balsamics and wine vinegars. Every taste is an experience to be savored. The flavors are true and robust, from lemon, blackberry, fig and dark chocolate, to espresso, jalapeño, cayenne chili and rosemary. Every taste finds you envisioning a new recipe Olive & Co for meat, salad dressing, veggies and desserts. “Talking and working with each producer we carry at Olive & Co. enables us a relationship with the producer,” Maggie comments. “The awards and recognition, the struggles from a harsh winter, it changes you, changes the way you think about food. It’s personal. We want to change the way people think and feel about food.” At this tasteful shop you’ll also find gourmet treats like whipped honey, cocktail mixes, cookware, cookbooks, pastas, sauces, salsas, mustards, jams, pesto, flatbread and the coolest bread dipping dishes you must have! Come hungry and leave inspired. Visit Savory Spice Shop at 4400 N. Western Ave., OKC or savoryspiceshop.com/okc. Visit Olive & Co. at 7602 N. May Ave., OKC or shoptheoiltree.com
Laura Beam is a business and food writer and 20-year advertising and marketing executive in radio, newspaper and magazines. Share new business tips and trends with her on LinkedIn or email Laura@outlookoklahoma.com.
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featuring Premier Garage by Austin Marshall Dan MacKay, owner of Tailored Living
The frantic pace of modern life often means our homes and storage spaces become just as cluttered as our schedules. The idea of reorganizing an entire closet or garage can be overwhelming, but one local company is ready to help. Tailored Living featuring Premier Garage of Edmond helps homeowners by developing customized office and storage spaces that reflect the client’s needs, lifestyle and specific requests. Tailored Living offers a wide variety of services to its clients. Home offices can be transformed with customized file drawers, moldings, desktops, lighting and other options. Closets can be renovated to include vertical closets, tie racks, jewelry displays and laundry hampers. The company also specializes in entertainment centers, pantries and entryways. Dan MacKay owns Tailored Living and entered the industry after a 22-year career of
Outlook July 2016
service in the United States Air Force. “I was looking for a company I could use my Air Force values and stand behind, and Tailored Living is just that. We stand for the highest quality products and superior customer service.” The process starts with a free in-home consultation, where MacKay and his team visit with clients about their living spaces and what they hope to accomplish with the reorganization. “We then design a space tailored to their lifestyle using proprietary 3D software, allowing the customer to better visualize the finished product.” MacKay ensures each project perfectly fits the needs of the customer. “We combine their vision and our expertise to come up with a custom solution that fits their space,” he adds. No project is too daunting for MacKay and his team. “We’ve done a 6,000 square foot car museum with a custom floor showing a road going down the middle of it, a full build-out
of a high school sports field house, and many custom garage floors.” Tailored Living can even help homeowners display their team pride. “We once did a project in Stillwater that featured a custom color flake and an OSU logo in the floor.” MacKay believes Tailored Living stands out among its competition for several reasons. “Our customized designs and superior customer service are all done in the customer’s home, so they don’t have to travel somewhere else for appointments.” If you could benefit from better organization or are simply tired of the clutter in your home, the professionals at Tailored Living can help. They will work with you to create a solution that will decrease stress, make home projects easier to complete, and leave you with a greater peace of mind around your home. For more info, visit tailoredliving.com/edmond, premiergarage.com/edmond or call 531-0855.
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church by Morgan Day Dr. Bob Long, Senior Pastor and Rev. Josh Attaway, Edmond Campus Pastor
With the opening day of their new facility drawing near, members of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church’s Edmond campus are ready to impact the community in ways they never could before. For the past two years, members met for services inside Sequoyah Middle School, and in September, they’ll be able to open their new, permanent location up to church members and the community. “It’s truly going to be a place for people to call home,” the Rev. Josh Attaway said of the new location at 900 N. Sooner Road in Edmond. “It’s a place to be supported, to grow, to be uplifted, to have our spirits refreshed, to have our lives and souls touched.” Not only will the Edmond campus have an official home base in the new 41,000 squarefoot building, but the church will be able to offer services that weren’t possible before, like
weekday community programming, beforeand after-school programs, Sunday school, an indoor playground and a Monday-Friday child care center that can accommodate 150 children. This indoor play area will be open to the public, providing a great opportunity for parents wanting to escape the summer heat or winter chill. The church will also house its Threefold coffee shop and bookstore, which serves Starbucks coffee and supports the church’s missions. The lobby will serve as a beautiful space for get-togethers and events, Attaway added. The building will have classrooms, offices and a worship center (holding up to 500 people) for contemporary and traditional worship. Until now, traditional worship services weren’t possible. “Being in a middle school cafeteria, there was no place to have an organ or a choir or
anything like that,” Attaway said. “This new building will certainly expand what we can offer the community.” Attaway said St. Luke’s members are grateful to Edmond Public Schools for hosting them for two years and they look forward to continuing the partnership once they’re in their Sooner Road location. The new location won’t just benefit current church members, he said, but it will have a lasting, long-term effect on the community as a whole. “It’s not about building a building; anyone can do that,” Attaway said. “It’s about offering a place to enrich lives, become better parents and better people, the people God created us to be. How we’re able to use a building to bless lives— that’s what it’s all about for us.” Learn more about the Edmond campus of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church at stlukesedmond.org.
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Local women use pageantry to serve others
oung women competing in modern pageants are defying the stereotype of “beauty queen.” Not only are they are intelligent, healthy, and confident, but they contribute an incredible amount of time to community service. Meet two local ladies who are proving that pageantry is definitely more about mission than makeup. When Molly Patterson entered the pageant arena as a young teen, her motivation was to spend time with friends and demonstrate her violin talent. Her poise and fiery fiddle-playing twice landed her as 2nd runner-up for Miss Oklahoma Outstanding Teen. Over time, her attention focused toward earning college scholarships and making a difference in her community. Upon turning 18, Patterson was shocked at how few of her classmates bothered to register to vote. When she learned that Oklahoma has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the US, she decided to focus her volunteerism toward improving that statistic.
Megan Gold being crowned Miss Frontier Country Outstanding Teen
Outlook July 2016
by Amy Dee Stephens
“Votes matter,” Patterson said. “My generation is robbing itself of the right to make choices for the community. This upcoming election will affect them, but if they don’t vote, they shouldn’t complain.” Patterson began traveling to high schools, speaking to students on the topic of exercising their right to vote. She shares methods for making educated decisions about candidates and bills instead of relying on slanderous television commercials. Afterward, Patterson provides voter registration paperwork, asks students to fill it out, and personally turns in the forms for them. She has helped register hundreds of juniors and seniors, who later receive their registration card in the mail. In June, Patterson was honored to place in the Top 10 as a candidate for Miss Oklahoma. Her ultimate goal over the next few years is to win as Miss Oklahoma and move on to the Miss America competition. For Patterson, it’s a title that will provide her an audience of 40,000 more people who need to hear her message about being politically engaged. Following in Patterson’s footsteps is 16-year-old Megan Gold, who was 2nd runner up at this year’s Miss Oklahoma Outstanding Teen. When she wanted to enter her first Miss Edmond Liberty Fest competition three years ago, she was so shy that her parents weren’t convinced that she would go through with it. “They didn’t even buy my clothes until the last minute,” Gold said. “But I did it, and I’ve learned so much about being confident and giving service to my community. I’ve worked hard to disprove people who compare what we do to reality shows like, Toddlers and Tiaras.” Because of a personal experience, Gold focuses her volunteer work on ending hunger for senior citizens. When Gold was younger, her grandmother passed away and her grandfather was living alone. The family was shocked to learn that he didn’t know how to cook and was eating Vienna sausages and M&Ms for dinner. The Edmond Meals on Wheels program added him to a waiting list of 800 seniors needing food assistance. Now, Gold is active on the leadership council for the Meals on Wheels program, and she personally delivers food and holiday packages to the seniors. It’s a cause dear to her heart. For both ladies, being involved in Miss Oklahoma is a choice that comes with a monumental time commitment. Walking across stage requires sacrifice and self-discipline. Patterson and Gold dedicate two hours a day at the gym, plus weekly music lessons and practice, private coaching for public speaking and poise, staying abreast of current events, volunteering, making appearances, and maintaining high a grade average. All that, and they rarely eat pizza. “It’s not about being stick-thin,” Patterson said. “It’s about eating right, having strong bones and staying fit for your whole life. I don’t walk around in a swimsuit every day, but when I do stand in front of 5,000 people in a swimsuit, it takes confidence. I can be proud of the hard work I’ve done both physically and mentally.” “We are role models for healthy choices. As I get older, I have to
work harder at staying in shape and saying no to cheeseburgers and ice cream,” Gold said. “It’s a life-style I’ve had to work at.” Sometimes Patterson’s time commitments cause her to miss out on college activities, but she’s found her fellow students to be supportive. They call her “Molly Pageant.” Of course, the glamour of pageantry comes during competition time, when the audience only sees the end result of all the sweat and sacrifice. Patterson and Gold both admit that wearing a ball gown on stage is a Cinderella moment. It’s the perk that comes after months of hard work. Even so, nervousness is a mighty force behind the curtain, and each competitor has her own way of dealing with it—but the nerves mostly disappear on stage as months of training kick in. Gold is thankful that she’s gaining valuable skills in public speaking, which will help her at future job interviews. Patterson has learned the importance of being on time, saying lots of thank yous, and “how to command a room without a crown and sash.” Being on stage requires command as well. Patterson described the incredible pressure to win the appreciation of the audience and the judges during the talent competition. “We have 90 seconds to show our skills, and that’s not a lot of time to do what you’ve trained for your whole life,” she said. “I was pretty nervous being on the stage for Miss Oklahoma, but I felt calm at the same time because I’d worked so hard for that moment. Hearing my name called in the top ten was the best moment ever.” Being in the public eye also prepares the girls to respond professionally when things don’t go as planned. Gold has had multiple sound system issues while performing her flute solo, and a few weeks ago, a screen fell on Patterson in the middle of her interview with the judges. Both girls agree that confidence is an all-important skill gained from competing in pageants. “Competing in Miss Oklahoma has taught me confidence,” Gold said. “I really look up to Molly Patterson for teaching me to look beyond my imperfections and be the best version of myself.” “I make time sacrifices to pursue my dreams, but then I remember that I’m one of 50 extraordinary girls who gets to compete for the title of Miss Oklahoma,” Patterson said. To learn more about the Miss Oklahoma and Miss Oklahoma Teen pageants, visit missoklahoma.org and missoklahomateen.org.
I ’v e learned so much about being con fident and giving service t o my communit y
Molly Patterson, Miss NW OKC
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Outlook July 2016
by Heide Brandes
If you’ve ever caught your kid playing air guitar to AC/DC in their room or pounding on the sofa to a rockin’ drum solo, then your child may have the soul of a rockstar.
their shell. We do go season by season, but kids like to stick around because of the friends they make and the experiences they have. We want to foster an environment where kids can learn, grow and move forward in music.” During the school year, The Edmond School of Rock will offer after-school classes, as well as camps during breaks. Summer will bring full-day camps. The school will offer tours and free lessons to students and their parents so they can see what the learning model is like. “We pull our instructors from a wide range of talent. Our instructors are touring musicians who have done it,” said Birdwell. “The ACM@UCO is another great resource to pull teachers from. All the instructors through a thorough background check, because the safety of our students is the most important thing.” The “Little Wing” course for pre-schoolers teaches exploration of hand percussion, music games, group music activities, music and life skills and a combination of fun and practical learning. The Rookies program for first and second graders teaches pitch, rhythm and musical teamwork through musical games and group rehearsal of simple rock songs. Rock 101 students learn the basics while playing actual rock music before jumping into live shows. Songs in Rock 101 are chosen to highlight the skills needed to build a strong foundation on a respective student’s musical instrument. Adult classes are also offered. “The number one thing I hear—and it’s something my partners and I said—is ‘I wish there was something like this when I was growing up,’” Birdwell said. “We grew up loving music, and being able to offer music instruction in such a positive way to the kids of Edmond is something we wanted to do.” Stop by the Edmond School of Rock at 100 N. Broadway, Ste. 124. For more information visit locations.schoolofrock.com/edmond.
In Edmond, a new school designed to nurture that guitar hero or bass ripping talent is opening this summer, and children as young as four can enroll to learn to play guitar, bass, keys, drums or vocals while also gaining understanding of music theory. Welcome to Edmond’s School of Rock. Opened in late June, the new music school turns traditional music lessons on its ear. Instead of playing scales over and over or memorizing music theory, the students instead learn their favorite rock songs, thus understanding theory through practice. “This is absolutely new to the area, and this is a performance-based program approach to music that is taught in a much more entertaining, immersive and exciting way,” said Brandon Birdwell, who opened the Edmond franchise along with Ted Kuschel, Chris Rhoads, Aaron Bonnett and Jeromy Dauphin. “We have classes beginning with 4- and 5-year-olds that teach them the love of music and rhythm all the way up to adult classes. We have our Rookie program up to Rock 101, but our performance-based program is the heart of School of Rock.” The Edmond School of Rock’s Performance Program introduces teamwork and collaboration into music instruction by grouping students with other kids to put on real rock shows at real music venues. Students learn harmonies, musicianship and how to perform in an authentic rock show environment. Each student receives a private one-on-one lesson along with weekly band rehearsals. The school year is broken into seasons, occurring four times a year. The rock show performance can cover tributes to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, AC/DC, Queen and more. “It’s more than that though,” said Birdwell. “Kids find a place in a program where socialization is so important. We all grew up learning music one way— scales and such. All kids want is to learn to play their favorite song. Say they want to play ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC. The old way, they would learn the pentatonic blues scale, learn theory and then maybe learn the song. Our way, they learn the song and learn about the pentatonic blues scale while doing it.” The Schools of Rock franchise was the brainchild of Paul Green, who started the program in 1998 in New Jersey. Since then, Schools of Rock have opened around the country and even in different countries such as Australia and in Central America. “Edmond is a perfect market,” Birdwell said. “My partners and I are from Oklahoma. We grew up here, and Edmond has really fantastic programs for kids, but not really anything for performance-based music.” Another component of the School of Rock is a social Edmond School of Rock owners aspect. Students learn to work together as a working Brandon Birdwell band, help each other and create relationships. and Ted Kuschel “That critical social component is so important,” said Birdwell. “It’s amazing to see kids come out of
Celebrating Life by Morgan Day
Inspiration to create art can come from anywhere. Some pick up a paintbrush to feel. Others fire up a kiln or thread a needle to forget pain and transport themselves to another place.
Those like Phylis Smith, a 72-year-old cancer survivor, turn to art to detach themselves from life’s troubles. She especially found solace in beadwork when she was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2015. “It’s such a tough battle because chemotherapy makes you sick, and radiation makes you not want to eat,” Smith said. “So if I can distance myself emotionally to give myself a space to relax and to not concentrate on how sick or tired I feel, but on the project that I’m doing right now, that helps me to be less stressed and more in touch with where I’m at. I stop worrying about what the future has in store.” Smith, who retired as a mental health nurse from INTEGRIS, has not only helped those going through cancer, she’s also seen her loved ones suffer. Her husband Al Smith, 75, battled colon cancer 21 years ago, while her son fought the same eight years ago. She was diagnosed with cancer this past year. Smith and about 100 area artists of all ages, backgrounds, mediums and skill levels will come together this month for the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute’s Celebration of Life Art Show. Despite their differences, they all are connected; they’ve all, in some way, been touched by cancer. Artists include cancer survivors, caregivers, health care providers and friends and family members of those who’ve had cancer. The show features all forms of art—about 200 pieces total— including fiber art, graphics, mixed media, watercolor paintings, photography, pottery and sculpture, many of which are for sale. The show kicks off with an opening reception for participating artists and their families July 29, and the art show runs through Sept. 8 and is available for the public to view from 7:30am to 5pm each day. Joe Holcomb, director of the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute’s Troy and Dollie Smith Wellness Center, said he’s more impressed every
We can’t control everything in our lives, but, we can create something beautiful out of it
Outlook July 2016
year with the artists’ talents and professionalism. More children are submitting works each year, and more professional artists from around the area also are getting involved. “Artists that are very well known here in Oklahoma have been increasingly coming to our art show and many of them have participated over the years,” he said. “Several of them have their own galleries in the area.” Many artists’ personal essays accompany their pieces and explain their cancer journey, Holcomb added. “They’ve used art as a curative mechanism to help them through their cancer journey,” he said. “It is very therapeutic. They’re expressing their feelings in a nonverbal way. They can put that down either in pencil or through sculpture or through mixed media and show their feelings, thoughts, anxieties, anger and celebration once they finish treatment. That all comes out when they create art.” Holcomb said it’s not uncommon for the artwork and essays to stir up emotions in those poring over the pieces, especially those who are currently going through cancer treatment. “After the art show is going, you see people who will spend an hour alongside the artwork, and you see people wiping tears away because they’re really touched by those stories of the artist,” he said. Both Smith and Holcomb commend the art show’s originator, Pat Lynn Moses, an art therapist now living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for launching an event that’s continued to grow and help so many who felt they were alone in their journey with cancer. Moses founded INTEGRIS’ art therapy program and retired from the institute about seven years ago. “She wanted people to get in touch with their inner self through art and display it,” said Smith, a close friend of Moses’. “When you can see something up on the wall that you’ve accomplished during the worst of times, you get such a tremendous, overwhelming pride that you were able to accomplish that even in the darkest hours.” Creating art also helps Smith spiritually by “lifting her spirits and connecting her to something greater than herself,” she said. Smith hopes the Celebration of Life Art Show helps people understand they can, and should, continue to create, no matter how difficult life gets. “We can’t control everything in our lives, but no matter what comes our way, we can create something that’s beautiful out of it,” she said. “Whether it’s a piece of art, beading a bracelet, crocheting a blanket, drawing a picture or doing pottery—cancer can’t take away our ability to create.” To learn more about the Celebration of Life Art Show, call 773-6600 or visit integrisok.com/cancer-institute-oklahoma-celebration-of-life. The show is at INTEGRIS Cancer Institute, 5911 W Memorial Rd, OKC.
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Outlook July 2016
Prairie Fashion Looks for the summer concert
usic and fashion have always gone hand-in-hand. Many of the most memorable moments in fashion have come from some of the world’s greatest pop stars. Who could forget the shocking Blonde Ambition of Madonna and her controversial cone bra? Music festivals like California’s Coachella not only offer a chance to see popular recording acts of today, but it also offers a glimpse into how music lovers are taking exclusive fashions of the stars and
Outlook July 2016
by Lance Evans
taking them mainstream. This summer, Oklahoma boutique owners will help you get show ready.
Amber Kern is probably one of the nicest Oklahomans you’ll ever meet. Everything she touches turns to gold. When she talks about her store, she comes across as a fashion expert eager to share her knowledge with potential customers. This is the quality that helps her store Rosegold shine. Amber isn’t interested in simply selling clothes. She would rather help style your closet and transform your entire look. “You can come into Rosegold and count on great service,” Amber confidently said. “My employees and I have worked in the fashion industry in Los Angeles, CA, and Austin, TX. We’re very good at giving the best service and we can add a stylist’s touch to it.” Amber said the key to making it through concert season is finding fashionable items that are lightweight and comfortable. “We have lines that do really great like our lightweight dresses,” she said. “You want to be sophisticated and cool looking, but you don’t want to try too hard.” Rosegold offers an updated version of the maxi dress
this summer. The black bias cut silk dress has become a fan favorite. “That dress is amazing. It’s beautiful on,” Amber said. “It’s super easy to wear and it feels like butter. It’s a line of silk that’s washable.” Amber also insists that no concert look is complete without the perfect summer tote. Follow Amber’s gold road at shoprosegold.com.
Men & Fashion, Oh Yeezus!
Downtown Oklahoma City has slowly turned into the place to be. Some credit popular nightclubs, others says it’s all because of the Thunder. Whatever the reason, Downtown not only offers a small glimpse into the big city life, but it’s also providing small entrepreneurs a chance to live out their big dreams. Before you could order a steak at Broadway 10, there was a boutique across the street slowly garnering rave reviews from men. “We opened in October 2014,” store owner Ashley Liddell said. After learning the business of retail as a sales rep for Geno’s Furs, Ashley thought that it was time to open her own store. Her dream would birth The Factory, a hip-industrial-style boutique located on Broadway in Downtown. Initially the store offered small brands for both men and women. Less than a year after its grand opening, The Factory found its customer in an unlikely demographic—men. Do guys really shop? According to Ashley, they do. “We have more street wear items,” Ashley said. “We found a clientele that needed
that.” These aren’t your everyday casual clothing items. The Factory offers small brand items that will help you make big fashion statements at the next concert you attend. Fashion for men is all about style and comfort. Athleisure wear has slowly turned into a billion dollar fashion-empire. More and more men are finding comfort in trendy items that are appropriate for the gym and nightlife. Ashley blames a popular rapper for keeping up the new look for men. “Kanye West has a really big following,” she said. “I think people want to look good and be comfortable at the same time.” Kanye has mastered this dynamic in his Yeezy line. “We carry Yeezy Season 1 and we also have his shoes,” she said. “We are the only store in Oklahoma that was able to get his line.” Find more exclusives at thefactoryokc.com.
Roasting for a Reason by Austin Marshall
Sharie Wilkins’ story is as varied and robust as the coffee she brews. The Edmond resident has found a way to combine her professional interest as owner of Flatlander Coffee Company with her passion for serving women and children in poverty. Wilkins—a proud mother and grandmother—has been a pilot for Southwest Airlines for 16 years while performing countless days of humanitarian work in some of the most remote parts of the known
Sharie Wilkins, owner, Flatlander Coffee Co.
world. Flatlander Coffee may be nestled in the heart of Oklahoma, but its influence and beneficiaries are spread across four continents. Flatlander Coffee, originally located in Norman, originated from a common interest between Wilkins’ two sons, Levi and Jake. Through their mission work internationally, the family was exposed to coffee from throughout the world and owned an impressive collection of roasting profiles. Levi had a passion for roasting coffee, so he and his wife Emily founded Flatlander. Through his passion, he developed the different coffee profiles. Due to the success of their business and
Outlook July 2016
their growing family, they made the tough choice to allow me to step in and take over the business. “These are family heirlooms,” Wilkins recalls thinking. “I can make time for this.” Her purchase of Flatlander was a crucial moment in Wilkins’ life. “It just hit me—I could sell coffee to help women and children!” Wilkins recalls. She now uses proceeds from Flatlander to benefit two amazing organizations. The first project is Hope 4 Women International, a nonprofit serving women and children in Uganda and the Philippines. Wilkins has been involved with the organization since 2010. Hope 4 Women’s mission is to bring “dignity, joy, health, and God’s love to women” through a variety of programs to improve physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The organization administers a one-year sponsorship program that educates Ugandan women in business practices and encourages them to empower themselves. “Graduates of this program have started their own businesses in agriculture, pastries, tailoring and many more,” Wilkins says. “We first and foremost want the women to be accountable and become financially independent.” Wilkins is eagerly awaiting an upcoming graduation ceremony in July, where she anticipates nearly 100 women will participate. Hope 4 Women also administers the “Dress a Girl Around the World” program. Women from the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Scotland and other countries spend a day sewing dresses for girls in impoverished parts of the world. The program has distributed more than 450,000 dresses to 82 countries since 2009. Wilkins’ second humanitarian project, an orphanage in Medellin, Colombia, is just as close to her heart. Wilkin’s son Jake came across the orphanage while traveling abroad and returned to tell his mother about the amazing work being done there. Recognizing that many children “age out” of the orphanage only to return to life on the streets, Wilkins helped start a program to teach life skills to those who are about to leave its custody. “We find children who are at risk of becoming homeless or worse,” she explains. “My goal is to make these children self-sustaining adults once they age out.” She acknowledges that her volunteer work can be emotionally and physically draining. “We see so much heartbreak. We interact with people who live in extreme poverty and face challenges most of us can never imagine.” Despite witnessing such desolation, Wilkins is eternally optimistic. “The women and children I work with give
me so much more than I could ever give to them. When you see gratitude and joy in their faces, it makes it all worthwhile.” “I don’t think I knew all those years ago how God was putting it all together, but He was,” Wilkins explains. “He is writing my story. I’m just trying to keep up!” Wilkins’ enthusiasm for serving others is matched by an energy that seems limitless. As a pilot for Southwest The local church in Uganda Airlines, she already has a demanding job. She commutes to Dallas for a day before beginning her work week, which typically consists of four-to-five day increments before commuting back to Edmond. Seniority affords some pilots to pick their preferred hours, a policy Wilkins has used to balance her “day job” with her several humanitarian projects. For years, company policy permitted her to convert her volunteer hours to airline tickets, which she would then donate. This detail perfectly demonstrates Wilkins’ passion for charitable works—she could have used those airline tickets for a personal vacation, but instead used them in the service of others. The roasting profiles Wilkins uses for her coffees are not just the products of proper temperature control and other technicalities— instead, they are imbued with the stories of those Wilkins has met during her years of international humanitarian work. “Every roast we do is done with the needs of those women and children in mind,” Wilkins adds. She’s taken roasting courses in Rome and Columbia, which has only enriched her passion for coffee. In addition, through her son Jake’s love of coffee and travels, he has experienced many different coffees and he continuously shares his input through many coffee tastings. Wilkins uses a 3-kilogram roaster, but plans to upgrade to a larger size as the coffee business expands. Wilkins readily acknowledges that her grueling schedule is getting more tiring as the years go on, but she shows no signs of slowing down. “Its especially hard to leave my grandkids for long periods of time!” She draws her energy from the people she helps. “When you help fill a material or spiritual void in someone’s life, there is just so much joy.” To learn more, visit flatlandercoffeeco.com and h4wi.org.
Josh Hargis, Mr. Yeti’s Snowballs by Bethany Marshall Why do you think snowballs are so fun? I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation for the magic in a snowball, but all I know for a fact is that they make people happy. Seriously—try being mad and eating a Yeti-sized Peach with Creamy Cream....it’s impossible. Do you park at a particular location or do you travel around? Both. We have four trailers franchised right now and the proprietors go to different events and festivals across Oklahoma. What’s the difference between a snowball and a snow cone? New Orleans invented shaved ice. Their SnoBall stands are incredible. We simply took what they were doing down there and brought it back home to OK. It’s a super fine and fluffy ice that is like snow. We also use the pure cane syrups from down there. A snow cone is what the majority of flavored ice vendors have across Oklahoma—it is a coarse ice that is crunchy.
What made you decide to start selling snowballs? Our non-profit, AgVocates For Exceptional Individuals, wanted to diversify our revenue stream from relying on donations and grants. After looking at multiple different business models, I landed on Snowballs. These things run at a 90% profit margin—that’s crazy. It’s highly profitable and that money could really help our programs grow. What’s the best part about running a snowball stand? It’s a great atmosphere. People are always so excited when they come to Mr. Yeti’s. How many flavors do you have? We have 24 flavors. All pure cane sugar—no high fructose corn syrup. We also have sugar free options and are looking at adding a few gluten free flavors to better serve our customers. What’s your favorite flavor? Easy. Peach with Creamy Cream. All day. Root beer with Vanilla might be second.
How do you get the perfect ice to flavor ratio? The key is our ice shaver. It’s the best on the market, and it makes super-fine, powdery snow. It allows the syrup to be distributed evenly unlike the shavers that make crunchy snow cones. Crunchy ice lets a lot of the syrup go to the bottom of the cup. Tell us about AgVocates. AgVocates is a non-profit (501c3) that uses live animals to teach children with special needs life skills, social concepts, and communication competencies. We have a program called The Teacher’s Pets that is a mobile animal therapy program with social and emotional curriculum. The Teacher’s Pets program travels to schools and teaches interactive lessons that focus on health and nutrition, self-regulation, fine motor skills and many more goals and objectives. Revenue generated from Mr. Yeti’s will go directly towards operating our programs.
What’s the oddest combination someone has asked for? Frog Spit. Still don’t know what that is.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? Just know if you see that super cool Mr. Yeti logo, you can be guaranteed a great snowball and that your money is going to support a wonderful organization that helps kids across the country.
How many pounds of ice do you go through in a day? It just depends. If we are set up at a busy festival, we can go through 3050 blocks. That’s a lot of ice.
Learn more about AgVocates and The Teacher’s Pets program at www.agvocates.org
Do you have any special flavor combinations, what are they? Yeti Juice. It’s kind of a tropical flavor with some Piña Colada, Banana, and Lime. It’s great. What’s your most popular/requested flavor? Tiger’s Blood, Grape, or Cherry.
AgVocates volunteer with child
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Outlook July 2016
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