Area Woman Oct/Nov '23

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cont ents 48 [ aw ]

OnThe Cover

Creating Sanctuaries - The Passion & Purpose Behind

Remix Design Studio by Devin Joubert

oct nov 2023

features by Design - The Path of Sylvia Lunski of Design Direction 12 Lifeby Patrice Peterson to Home - Creating Space and Room to Live 28 House by Erin Foley It All Together - Kris Carlson and Linda Birmingham 44 Pulling of designingwomen 2



by Alicia Underlee Nelson

Sanctuaries 48 Creating The Passion and Purpose Behind Remix Design Studio by Devin Joubert

Rise - Renae Cartier Mitchell 64 Onby the Samantha Archer

Wondering Woman 26 Dear by Jessica Hoeper Fully Booked 58 She's by Dawn Duncan

60 Events Calendar Bringing Together Dragons 62 MSUM: by Kristi Monson

health Study - Catches Diabetes Early 24 Pledge by Sanford Health Blessings 34 Counting by Essentia Health Therapy - A Status Resurgence 40 Hormone by Jason Cossette, RPh


16 style


Glamour Unveiled 16 Holiday 2023's Stylish Trends by Olivia Burke

Take on Fall Décor 36 AbyFresh Alicia Underlee Nelson

42 Area Style + Shop Local


Salmon Bowl 23 Cilantro-Lime by Stephanie Disse Sweet Potatoes 27 Rosemary-Garlic by Stephanie Disse [AW] October / November 23 ::




Alicia's stories and photos have been featured in numerous publications, including Thomson Reuters, USA Today, Food Network, Delta Sky Magazine, AAA Living, Midwest Living,, Apartment Guide, trivago Magazine, Matador Network, North Dakota Outdoors and She is the author of North Dakota Beer: A Heady History and a coauthor of Midwest Road Trip Adventures.

[ aw ]

are the voice of Area Woman Magazine. They bring to life the Fargo-Moorhead area and the incredible stories of the women we feature. These are the talented contributors showcased in this issue. Learn more about these and our other contributors at



Erin is a retired business owner with a degree in Graphic Design. She lives her free-spirited, ‘Be real, not perfect.’, life in Detroit Lakes with her cat, The Dude. More often than not, will answer in movie or tv quotes and is a lover and advocate for all animals. She is an Artist for Lakeshirts and loves to garden, write, paint, and cook and bake for others. You will often find her at the local yoga studio, behind the apron, elbow deep in dirt or on the lake.



underlee nelson



Jessica Hoeper is a Social Worker, Reflective Coach, Author, Mother, and Founder of Ray of Hope, LLC. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with 17 years of human service experience, specializing in child welfare. Jessica runs her own human service consulting and training company, Ray of Hope, LLC. Jessica grew up in Fargo before relocating to Minnesota. Jess and her husband are raising their five kids on a farm in central Minnesota. Jessica recently added author to her tagline. She coordinated and co-authored a book that became a best-seller, “Where Social Work Can Lead You: Journeys into, around and even out of social work.”



Stephanie Disse is a Certified Yoga Teacher and the owner of Time to Fly Healthy Living. Her passion for fitness and nutrition fuels her coaching business, helping clients to develop and sustain healthy lifestyle habits. She is a native of Detroit Lakes, MN and a married mother of two, grandmother of three, and consummate adventurer! You’ll find Stephanie cooking up new recipes in her DL kitchen, traveling around the country, enjoying live music shows, experiencing the outdoors, and spending time as a student and teacher of yoga.



Samantha is the co-owner and lead photographer at Images by Archer. Working alongside her videographer husband Ryan, they specialize in documenting couples, engagements, and weddings. Along with this, Samantha is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Communication at North Dakota State University and an adjunct lecturer at Concordia College. Her doctoral work looks at the intersection of mass and interpersonal communication with specific focus on how relationships are built and maintained over technology. Find more of her work at or



Dawn is driven by creativity and sharing her passion for writing, art, and healthy living with the masses. She is from Fertile, MN and now calls Detroit Lakes her home, after living in Colorado several years. She's a UND graduate and lifelong entrepreneur who is also a published children's book author. You'll usually find her hiking in the woods, kayaking, sweating in the yoga or dance studio, or spending time with her husband, Michael, and their German Shepherd, Reva. Dawn is a writer, artist, creativity coach, and class facilitator, specializing in teaching art as therapy. Follow her



Devin Joubert (pronounced "yo-bear") is a freelance writer and also a fiction author of all things romantic comedy, humor, and true love. Stories have always been at the center of her heart, believing they change lives. She lives in North Dakota with her husband and mini zoo, where the prairies and forests collide. When she isn’t writing or wrangling her pets, she loves going on road tripping adventures with her husband. You can find out more about her at [AW] October / November 23 ::


celebrating 39 years

publisher / art director KIP JOHNSON

managing editor DAWN DUNCAN


advertising RENEE REDENIUS | 701.212.7227 JERRY SHEA | 218.205.7454 REBECCA HAARSTAD | 262.994.8744 TERRI JO PEERY | 320.491.5618


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Area Woman is a proud member of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. It is published bimonthly by Area Woman Publishing, LLC and printed in the U.S.A. ©2023 Area Woman Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from AW. Area Woman is a trademark registered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Area Woman Publishing assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs and does not necessarily agree with content or advertising presented.

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[AW] October / November 23 :: 11



Words Of: Patrice Peterson


Design Direction


hen Sylvia Lunski, owner of Design Direction Interior Design in Fargo, was growing up on a farm in Rothsay, Minnesota, she never had big dreams about owning her own business, and didn’t think of herself as an entrepreneur.

“I always had an interest in furniture, sewing, and making curtains. After high school, I went to a technical school in East Grand Forks to study home furnishing sales,” she says. “My first job was at Plywood Minnesota, working with cabinets. Eventually, I held a few other positions in different areas of the furniture and flooring industry once I was settled in Fargo.”

My first job was at Plywood Minnesota, working with cabinets. Then I held a few other positions in different areas of the furniture and flooring industry once I was settled in Fargo. - Sylvia Lunski

Design Direction grew from a small kernel of a dream into a reality 18 years ago when Sylvia realized that her interior design experience, along with her understanding of the construction process, provided her with a new opportunity. She briefly considered getting out of the industry and doing something different. However, she came to understand that if she went into business for herself, she could work with ALL phases of a client’s job, instead of only portions of a project.

Growth “I started with straight consulting, working out of my home, and then rented a small office space,” she says. “I wasn’t sure in the beginning what exactly I wanted to do, but the business grew from there as it continued to evolve into what it is today.” The first person she hired all those years ago was a part-time bookkeeper, and now Sylvia has a staff of three full-time interior designers – Delrae Schefter, Christina Mehl, and Leah Vikander. Her business has also moved into a spacious office complex on Fiechtner Drive in Fargo. “We offer services for interior designs, along with assistance in choosing products to fit a client’s style and budget, no matter how small the project,” she explains. “Our office space includes a retail showroom, with selections from floor coverings, furniture, and blinds, to draperies. We also have a storage warehouse for the products we order for clients, and we’ve all learned how to drive a forklift!” The reach of Design Direction’s clients extends up to a two-hour drive from Fargo, including many located in the lakes area of Minnesota. By working hand-in-hand with the homeowner and building contractor, these talented and experienced women can help develop a look, assist with product selections, order the materials, coordinate the installation, and finalize all the project details. Most of the company’s growth has come by referrals, and no project is too small or insignificant. Sylvia admits there were obstacles along the way, especially in the everchanging landscape of the typically male-dominated construction industry. She had plenty of help and support from her husband, Mike, and her three children, Sarah, Jason & Ryan, particularly during the early years. “There was definitely a learning curve – actually a lot of learning curves – throughout the growth of Design Direction,” she says. “I wanted people to realize this was more than a hobby for me. To help boost my confidence and knowledge, I attended a number of different classes and courses. Some were offered by manufacturers, and others I found through the Chamber of Commerce, the Fargo-Moorhead Home Builders Association, or the Small Business Administration.” Those classes were a pathway for her to learn more about developing a new business. They were also a way to learn more about the interior design and home construction industries, and gave her a chance to meet and interact with other people in the same field.

Recognition Last year, Sylvia was selected as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2022 North Dakota Small Business Person of the Year. According to Al Haut, District Director of the Administration’s North Dakota office, this annual award recognizes established small business owners who demonstrate staying power, show growth in net worth and business expansion, show an increase in jobs and sales, and provide contributions to community-oriented projects. “For me, this award represents an opportunity to highlight an SBA client like Sylvia – someone who has excelled in her industry – and showcase her as an example for other current or potential small business owners,” he says. “Since she started her Design Direction business, she has participated in several of the leadership and development programs offered by the Small Business Administration. We are a small (but mighty) independent agency of the federal government that supports America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners, and helps power the American dream of business ownership.” Sylvia’s enthusiastic involvement in the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead has also led to being honored as an “Associate of the Year” at that non-profit organization, whose efforts focus on advocating for a strong building and remodeling industry. “I’ve been a board member of the Home Builders Association, and very involved with projects through its charitable arm, the Home Builders Care Foundation,” she says, “like building a wheelchair ramp and raising money for student scholarships.” [AW] October / November 23 :: 13

A Business Leader Throughout all her seminars, lunch and learns, and classroom studies, with topics from marketing to finance to bookkeeping, one of the most helpful things Sylvia says she learned from others is, “to hire people who know what you don’t know.” Her employees say they’ve also learned from her. One of her interior designers, Delrae Schefter, says one thing she’s learned is that Sylvia is a wonderful boss with great business skills. “She is very faith and family-oriented, and that carries into the business,” she says. “She’s part of the team, and everything we do is based on collaboration, freedom, and independence. We don’t have a set approach with customers. She’s taught us that each one is different, and we need to adapt to work with their style.” Delrae says she first came on board at Design Direction four years ago. “I knew Sylvia from working in the industry, and had a great deal of respect for her, so I reached out. She wasn’t really looking for anyone to hire, but she took me on anyway,” says Delrae. “One thing I didn’t realize until I came to work for her was her level of community involvement and volunteering, like the amount of time she spends working with the Fargo Rotary Club, participating in many of their community projects.” As part of Rotary International, the Fargo organization’s stated goals are to “bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards, and advance goodwill and peace around the world.” As far as charitable activities, one of Sylvia’s favorite events is a yearly tradition at Christmas, when she provides each of her employees with an amount of money to donate. Whether it’s an animal shelter, the Ronald McDonald House, or any other legitimate organization, they get to select a specific charity to benefit. “The company donates the money, but we get to choose where it goes,” says Delrae. “We all feel like part of her work family, and this gesture by her makes us all feel like we’re truly part of this company. I got lucky when I found this job.”

One thing I didn’t realize until I came to work for her was her level of community involvement and volunteering, like the amount of time she spends working with the Fargo Rotary Club, participating in many of their community projects. - Delrae Schefter, Interior Designer

Christina Mehl also feels blessed. She was the first interior designer that Sylvia hired 12 years ago. “I loved that Sylvia worked more on the residential side of the industry, and I feel fortunate that she took a chance to bring me on staff,” says Christina. “She has experience and knowledge from having worked in this industry for so long, and she really wants to impart that into the younger generation. I’ve learned so much from her over the years and feel so blessed to have been a part of this company. It’s been a wild and wondrous adventure seeing and participating in the growth of Design Direction.” Christina has been working alongside Sylvia throughout much of the growth and changes at Design Direction. She says there have definitely been challenges, like the fire in the building next door that caused smoke damage to all of their warehouse items. “We handled that as a team, the same way we handle any issues that may pop up at a job site or with family,” she adds. “Sylvia takes a step back, pulls us all together, and tells us it will be all right. I feel like she can handle any challenges she faces. I’ve stayed on here for many reasons, including her flexibility and her belief in a work-life balance. Plus, we have a lot of fun together. It’s kind of been the ride of our lives!”

Dedication and Drive During that ride, Sylvia has not only worked to provide Design Direction clients with exceptional services and products, but she has also worked to keep the business fresh and fun for everyone who works there. “There were a couple places where I previously worked when I dreaded going to work every day,” she says. “I want to love going to work, and I want the people I work with to love going to work.” A number of different events have driven Sylvia to where she is today. Her family has grown to include five young grandchildren, and she considers everyone at Design Direction as part of her family. “I never looked at myself as ‘just a woman business owner,’ and I get a sense of pride from some of the things I’ve been able to do to grow this business,” she says. “One of my goals has always been that I could make enough money so that I could donate and support community projects – providing assistance to those who need it. I also wanted to be able to provide the outlet for my employees to pursue their dreams as designers, creating a career for themselves.” As a strong-willed yet flexible business owner, who motivates her employees and is determined to succeed, she could also be described as a trailblazer in her industry. Different definitions of the word entrepreneur include “someone who has an idea and who works to create a product or service that people will buy, as well as an organization to support that effort” and who “takes on most of the risk and initiative for their new business and is often seen as a visionary or innovator.”

It’s safe to say that Sylvia Lunski is a true entrepreneur. [ aw ]

[AW] October / November 23 :: 15




he holiday season is upon us and it's the perfect time to embrace style and color with unbridled enthusiasm! This year's holiday hair trends are all about crimson brunettes, imperfect waves, and volume like never before. Get ready to witness the resurgence of fringe bangs and shaggy layers, bringing a newfound fullness to your locks. The magic lies in the multitude of tones and layers that create a sexy, chunky look, even for those opting for smoother styles. Loose fringes, paired with waves and layers of color, promise to make you the standout sensation of the season. For an added dose of dazzle, amplify your style with Redken Argan Oil, ensuring you shine as bright as a star!

model Darren Fitch Hair Pam Vadnais clothing Halberstadt's Downtown Fargo

model Amber Strobel makeup Tasha Lund hair Laura Gabriel clothing Lauries

Speaking of stars, 2023 also marks the debut of Barbie, and you can expect to see Margot Robbie's best Barbie looks gracing the scene. From sleek blond ponytails to luxurious waves, the doll-inspired trend will have you feeling like a true fashion icon. In the world of makeup, the trend is all about "latte" – effortless nude tones featuring various shades of brown for a monochromatic allure. Complement your neutral canvas with statement lips that are soft, yet precisely defined, thanks to a darker liner. And for those craving an extra layer of beauty, embrace the holographic lips trend by using a dark liner and sparkling gloss. This look is perfect for holiday parties, adding a touch of enchantment to your festivities and look.

[AW] October / November 23 :: 17

When it comes to fashion, get ready for a unique fusion of grunge and glamour. Soft fabrics, slouchy boots, leather, and furs (faux and real) are set to steal the spotlight in the 2023 holiday fashion scene. The hottest colors of the season include deep cinnamon reds, rich chocolate browns, luxurious shades of purple, and opulent oil greens. Elevate even the simplest holiday look with statement or oversized earrings. And don't be surprised to see the return of pairing boots with holiday dresses, harkening back to the iconic style of the '90s.

model Neicy makeup Tasha Lund hair Kyrstin Schroeder clothing Leela & Lavender

model Douglas Watanabe Hair Douglas Watanabe clothing Halberstadt's Downtown Fargo

For men, it's all about the return of longer, layered looks with a touch of tailored precision to accentuate facial structure. Achieving these looks requires styling aids like Redken Brew Finishing Cream, a versatile tool that helps maintain that effortlessly loose shape. Embrace the trend of Redken layering colors to enhance bone structure and gain better control over hairstyle. Yes, men are diving into the world of layered coloring more than ever, catching up to the ladies' long-standing tradition.

model Jaydee Unruh makeup Alicia Upton hair Kate Algren clothing Lauries

With regard to skincare this holiday season, managing acne is a top priority. Consider using makeup infused with salicylic acid to keep acne at bay. Additionally, red light therapy offers a powerful solution for clearing and tightening your skin, making it a must-try. Infrared therapy also works wonders for reducing inflammation in your face and joints. For those moments when you need a quick acne fix at home, crush aspirin into a paste and apply it to your blemishes; it's a handy trick to have up your sleeve.

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model Neicy makeup Kylie Henry hair Kate Algren clothing Leela & Lavender

Discover the ultimate must-have products for holiday glamour!

model Madison Kitsch makeup Tasha Lund hair Laura Gabriel & Kate Algren clothing Leela & Lavender

model Carole Thon makeup Misty Kalina hair Laura Gabriel clothing Laurie's

model Sarah Driggers makeup Jenae Swenson hair Kate Algren & Douglas Wantabe for the color clothing Leela & Lavender

As we usher in this holiday season, let's celebrate the beauty that it brings. Embrace the trends, exude confidence, and shine as bright as the holiday lights! You are the star of this festive show! [ aw ]



t i e k ma

[ aw ]

tonight Cilantro-Lime

Salmon Bowl SERVINGS ................



This two-serving power bowl is packed with nutrients, including protein, good fats, and fiber. Easily multiply the recipe for entertaining or feeding the family, and use pre-packaged quinoa/brown rice blend to save time. Use any greens you like and chop ingredients small for visual appeal and best flavor! .............................................................................

INGREDIENTS ............................................................................................





1 3 ½ 3 3 C 1 1

Combine all ingredient s in blender; blend until smooth. A ssemble ingredient s in bowl , with each ingredient occupying one section. Driz zle with dressing and ser ve ex tra dressing on the side in a small bowl . Top the bowl with bl ack sesame seeds . [ aw ]

........................................ RECIPE BY


small packet s wild smoked sal mon, sl iced (approximately 8 oz.) 8 oz. packet quinoa/brown rice blend, cooked carrot s, peeled and cubed small small red onion, minced mini cucumbers, cubed small spinach, arugul a, or greens of choice, chopped clove garl ic, minced avocado, mashed

Dressing: ¼ C fresh cil antro, stemmed, packed ½ C pl ain G reek yogur t ½ t sp. honey 1 T l ime juice S alt and pepper to taste

[AW] October / November 23 :: 23



Like most type 1 diabetes patients, Samuel Erdmann became very ill before his doctors caught the disease. He was diagnosed at five years old after displaying the classic symptoms: weight loss, excessive thirst, moodiness and frequent urination.



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We wanted to know if we should be watching for certain signs and symptoms. We didn’t want to think every time he got a cold or flu, ‘wow, maybe this is diabetes starting. Samuel’s mom | Lindsey Erdmann Although Samuel got sick, he was lucky enough to avoid hospitalization. At Sanford Health, 70% of type 1 diabetes patients are diagnosed when they develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a life-threatening diabetes complication that requires hospitalization. Now, a study is screening kids early for type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Its goal is to identify children at risk of developing these conditions before become sick. It worked for Samuel’s little brother.

Joining the PLEDGEstudy

The Sanford PLEDGE study is a large-scale screening study of children. Samuel’s mom, Lindsey Erdmann, doesn’t remember how she first heard about it, but she recalls knowing she wanted to enroll her other kids in it. “We’d already gone through it with Samuel. He was sick when he was diagnosed, and we wanted to avoid going through that again,” she said. Samuel’s younger brother, Ezra, was two years old when he joined PLEDGE. His parents hoped the study would give them some peace of mind. “We wanted to know if we should be watching for certain signs and symptoms. We didn’t want to think every time he got a cold or flu, ‘Wow, maybe this is diabetes starting,’” Erdmann said.

Enrolling in PLEDGE was easy. Erdmann completed a short questionnaire through My Sanford Chart, then all Ezra had to do was give a small sample of blood when he was in the clinic being seen for routine care. The blood was tested for antibodies that are associated with type 1 diabetes. There are four types of antibodies that could be early warning signs for diabetes. At his first blood draw, Ezra tested positive for two of the types. Within a year, he had all four.

An early diabetes


Erdmann received a call from the PLEDGE team laying out her next steps after Ezra’s first positive test. His primary care doctor was also notified. Within days, he was under the care of his brother’s endocrinologist and had an official type 1 diabetes diagnosis. “He didn’t have to live a very long time with extended high blood sugar. We’re hoping he was diagnosed before any permanent damage was done. I’m glad we got the process going before he got sick,” his mom said. Even though Ezra is very young, he’s adapting well to his new diagnosis and everything that comes with it.

“He cried a little with the first shot but not since. Ezra has seen needles a lot from his brother’s diabetes management, so he understands if we need to do a shot. He even chooses a place for it. We couldn’t have asked for a better transition for him,” Erdmann said. PLEDGE played a part in that easy transition by helping detect his diabetes before he experienced symptoms. “We’re glad we did it. I really only see positives for enrolling in PLEDGE. If there’s one reason to do it, it’s avoiding hospitalization or even worse if someone is diagnosed too late,” Erdmann said.

Learn more about PLEDGE and see if your child is eligible to enroll at

area wondering BOOKS WOMAN

response by :: jessica hoeper


I wonder often about friendships, specifically how to make new friends and nurture friendships when you are a busy mom.

Dear Kelly,

Sincerely, Kelly

I wonder about friendships often, too. I ask myself the same questions you are asking, “How do I nurture the friendships I have?” and “How do I make new friends?” The thing I have learned is that being a busy mom does make nurturing friendships and making new friends hard. Not impossible, but hard.

Three helpful tips: 1. Vulnerability Nurturing current friendships or making new friends will involve vulnerability. By that I mean, to nurture a friendship you value while being a busy mom, you may have to let that friend see the messiness of being a busy mom. I have five kids, ranging in ages from 3-14, and life can be messy. If you come over, the likelihood is very high that there are dishes in the sink and piles of laundry. I have to be okay with a mom friend seeing that I don’t have it all together all of the time. Vulnerability also includes letting others do motherhood their way without criticizing them, while still feeling confident in your way. Motherhood is already so controversial, don’t miss out on new friendships over parenting differences, that none of us really have how-to manuals about anyway! We all deserve a circle of mom friends that see us without judgement during this temporary phase of extra busyness. 2. Check yourself The friendships of your tweenage years are not the friendships of your adult years. Do you have friendship PTSD? I sometimes do and it has kept me from being open to making new friends. Friendship PTSD can come from a past of not having friends, not

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having nurturing friendships, or you were not a good friend. I am going to be vulnerable and say I have experienced all three. Each of these friendship phases (not having/not being) have been hard to bring into the light to heal, but so necessary to reflect upon and acknowledge. Be the friend you want to have. Checking yourself also involves checking your friendship expectations. Do you feel like you need several friends? Really having one other solid and nurturing mom friend can benefit your “busy mom” mental health.

3. Check your current surroundings Making new friends has become a bit easier for me in my current phase of life. So many fun mom friends have emerged as my kids get actively involved in extracurricular activities. Make sure to look around you and see what new friendships may be hidden in plain sight at one of your children’s activities. Look for moms you can relate to, who share similar interests. And don’t forget to look for other moms you can include! As I learned to check my surroundings, I found I loved spending time with those that had always been closest to me, my mom and aunts! Remember to check the friendships with family that have maybe always been there and have evolved into deep and nurturing friendships!

To all the readers who are not at the stage of being “busy moms”, this may look a bit different for you. To all the “busy mom” readers, this is just a place to start wondering and considering and certainly there is much more we could share with each other. Kelly, thank you for this wondering and starting the conversation!


Your friend,


Write to me with your “wondering whys.”, a column where we can join in honest, real and love filled conversation around our shared wonderings. Let’s collectively as women share this wonder filled journey of life together! I plan to respond to a reader’s “wondering why” in each issue. You can email questions to me at I can’t wait to connect! Your “wondering” may be featured in an upcoming issue! [aw]

t i e mak area


[ aw ]

[ aw ]



Sweet Potatoes

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best, especially when they are proven hits! This easy sweet potato recipe is a mainstay at our house, both as a main and side dish. Make it a hearty meal by adding protein and greens, even eggs for breakfast fare, or serve solo as a tasty side for holiday or weekday meals. Sweet potatoes shine when combined with fresh, flavorful, simple ingredients and roasting brings out their best qualities. Roasting allows for an even “sweat” in caramelization.

SERVINGS ................




INGREDIENTS .............................................................................

2 3 1

l arge sweet potatoes, chopped into small cubes Tbsp ol ive oil clove garl ic, minced Rosemar y (dried or fresh, chopped small )







• petite chef 's knife • 2 baking sheet s • spatul a or tongs

Set the oven to 425 degrees . Combine all ingredient s in a bowl then spread onto baking sheet s (greased and with parchment paper). Bake for 40 -45 minutes, turning potatoes ever y 10 minutes for even cooking. [ aw ]

........................................ RECIPE BY


[AW] October / November 23 :: 27




f there were ever a perfect organizational storm, the World Meteorological Organization would name the gale force gals of House to Home with their own signature moniker. They are not only ambitious, they’re a committed, tireless powerhouse duo infused with Midwestern charm. These virtuosos of the organizational industry have built a business to help bring a sense of peace to the living spaces of their clients with everything from decluttering, unpacking, organizing, and decorating.

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Kismet Erica Holaday and Katrina Hammar met over 10 years ago at a get together in Grand Forks when their husbands were attending medical school at UND. Before being introduced to one another by their husbands, Erica saw Katrina walk through the door in a pink coat and instantly knew she needed to get to know her. Throughout the many moves within their husbands’ mutual medical education journey, they stayed connected. From celebrating each other’s weddings, births of children, growing families, and adopting pets, a friendship was born and nurtured. Erica was a stay-at-home mom to two little boys for the five years leading up to the creation of House to Home. She had previous experience in the bridal industry and as an event coordinator for a few local hotels. Katrina graduated with a degree in Global Studies and German from Concordia College with minors in Political Science, French, and Art. “I think what guided me towards small business ownership, however, were the positions I held that focused on unique client experiences.” After moving back to Fargo, she worked in guest services at the Hotel Donaldson and became the Aesthetics Lead for the hotel, assisting in event planning. Mentored in the importance of creating personalized experiences for each guest, she really enjoyed making the guest’s stay or event feel special. While living in Madison, WI for her husband’s residency, Katrina worked at Mes Amies. “I was further educated in the operations of a small business and polished my client relation skills through finding just the right fit, price, and style for each client’s occasion or celebration.”

Erica always knew she wanted to start her own business when her family moved back to Fargo, after living in the Minneapolis area for three years while her husband did his residency. “I decided to bring up this idea of working together with Katrina at dinner one evening. My original idea was doing small scale in-home dinner parties. We both had hospitality and event backgrounds.” Katrina, as well, had been thinking of starting her own business and countered with the idea of home organizing and decorating. At the time, with the pandemic in full swing, dinner parties were put on hold and they decided to go with home organizing. “Organization was a skill that came naturally to both of us and we enjoyed doing it”, said Erica. “I wanted to do something that I loved, but still have the flexibility of being there for my kids and being the mom I always wanted to be. My husband's career and work schedule also made this possible to pursue.” “Erica approached me first with the idea to start a business together. At the time, we were both stay at home parents and with her oldest son beginning school, she was thinking more about the next steps.” Erica originally floated the idea of a small event business to Katrina, as they both love to entertain and have experience in coordinating events, but it wasn’t quite the right timing as the world was just coming out of the pandemic and Katrina didn’t feel she would be able to commit her evenings and weekends to hosting, given the age of her kids. “With the pandemic, we knew that we, like everyone else, were spending much more time at home. We also knew how challenging it can be to feel organized with kids and how much easier it is to focus on other things and enjoy being home when you have a calm and inviting environment.” With both women having always been interested in home decorating and design and having moved and set up 14 homes between the two, they began researching how they could best put their home organizing talents and experience to use in the community. House to Home was born! [AW] October / November 23 :: 29

House to Home “The environment you create within your business really reflects in the clients you have,” says Erica, reflecting on the amazing and appreciative clients they have assisted thus far. “I’ve learned that even if something is new to you, you don’t need to be dismissive of your skills. Your life experiences guide you to stretch your brain in unforeseen ways,” says Katrina. Having grown in confidence since starting their business, Katrina is thankful for her education and role as a mom and caretaker in creating House to Home. “Throughout our client interactions and experiences, I’ve learned how to gain people’s trust and make them feel at ease. It's no easy task to ask for help and trust a stranger with your personal items.” Both Erica and Katrina are beyond grateful to all their clients who have opened their homes to them.

A True Partnership Erica and Katrina are constantly bouncing ideas off of each other and continue to have a strong friendship outside of work that was well established before deciding to become business partners. “We have different styles and approaches to the business and each project, but appreciate each other’s as well. There are disagreements and compromises occasionally, but just like with any relationship, you give and take, for the better of the business and especially for the clients.” Katrina can’t imagine owning a business with anyone else. “We have the same goals in mind and balance each other well.” While they are both very organized, they bring different strengths to the table and divide their responsibilities within the business accordingly. “Erica and I have been able to communicate well as partners and are respectful of our needs outside of the business, too.” Appreciation and respect for one another and what each brings to the business is a key factor when working together in a partnership. Owning a business together is like being in a marriage; it’s key to communicate your needs, talk about any issues openly, and respect each other’s viewpoints. “I think a healthy business partnership is one in which responsibilities are equally shared and trust is established,” says Katrina. “We also try to make a point of reflecting on our day’s project and discussing what went really well and what can be improved upon. We are good about recognizing each other’s work and complimenting each other.”

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Life Goes On Erica has two boys, Huxley (7) and Lincoln (5). She absolutely LOVES being a ‘Boy Mom!’ “Both are extremely creative and their imaginations blow me away every day!” Erica beams. Katrina has a five-year-old daughter, Esme, a nearly threeyear-old son named Leif, and another boy or girl joining the family this fall. The final addition will be a surprise. “Leif wants a girl and Esme wants a boy, and all I’m hoping for is a healthy, snuggly baby; admittedly, curly hair would be great.” For Erica, the key to balancing work and family life consists of planning and organizing her schedule daily and sticking to it, not taking on too much. “We set specific days and hours so we can be completely present for our business and clients. Both of us love a good schedule. We do our best to do the extra work of the business during daycare and school hours to not interrupt our family time.” With each woman having small children, they are currently working part-time in hopes of growing into a full-time company once all of the kids are in school. “All of our decisions about our business revolve around how we want our family / work balance to look and how we want to be present for our kids. It was important to me to drop off and pick up my kids every day from school, so we set our project hours to work accordingly with this.” For Katrina, the key to balancing work and family life consists of the ability to make their own schedules. “Having that flexibility with young families is definitely a blessing. By scheduling ourselves two days a week and adjusting as necessary depending on our families’ schedules, we have been able to find a good balance.” “However, there are certainly time-sensitive things and busier seasons for us. Like with most things, you do the best you can with what you are dealt.” Both Erica and Katrina try to handle most of their work responsibilities while their kids are occupied with other tasks or sleeping so they can be present for them. “When I can’t be as present as I’d like, I try to find a moment together when I can be.” A key point in finding balance for Katrina is always eating meals together at the table, something she grew up with and cherishes. “Finding your standby and being as consistent as possible with it can be really centering.” Erica has always had and continues to have an amazing support system. “I supported my husband as he went through medical school and now he is a wonderful support to us.” Katrina feels more supported now than she ever has before. “Nursing an infant and potty training a two-year-old in isolation at home was one of the most [AW] October / November 23 :: 31

challenging times in my life. My husband would have to work 12-hour shifts for seven days straight, but we tried to make the most of things when he was off work. As a pediatrician and generally goofy person, he is a great dad and a patient husband.” Erica offers this advice to fellow busy moms trying to balance their work and home life, “Plan ahead, have back up plans, don't overextend yourself, prioritize what is most important to you. Stay on top of those priorities and stay consistent.” For Katrina, she says it's important to ask for help whether it be in physical tasks or for emotional support. “Find family, friends or hired professionals to assist! There is a large community of moms in Fargo who all “get it”. Finding a good group of women you can connect with for playdates, date nights, or book clubs is really a wonderful way to reduce the stress of it all. Balancing work and home schedules is hard to do if you feel like you’re on your own, so surround yourself with a good network.”

House to Home House to Home caters to each client’s needs with the goal of giving a peace of mind, creating free time, and contributing a sense of peace. Their services offer a fresh start after a particularly busy or overwhelming time in their lives, such as a move or a loss. Erica and Katrina specialize in helping these clients sift through an accumulation of items and determine what is meaningful and gives value to their lives. Some clients just want to come home to an organized pantry so they can easily start dinner after a long work day. “When you are working long hours, organizing your pantry generally takes second place to bathing the kids, helping them with homework, or enjoying a glass of wine instead of tackling a project!” says Katrina. Their job is those projects. They come in and clearly zone out categories and establish a good flow, finding a home for everything so it’s easy to find what you need and where to put it back. Some clients are already very organized people and are either stumped on how to make one area of their home function better for them or they need help with the aesthetics to achieve the look they want. The goal of each session is always to take away an area of stress and make it an orderly and inviting space. “I've found through listening to our clients, that their anxiety and stress are lifted and for us to come in was the push they needed. We have found we are often the start to a larger organization goal they have set for themselves and we give them a sense of direction.” says Erica.

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Like any savvy entrepreneurs, growth is in the back of both of their minds. Erica would eventually like to see House to Home become a full-time job, while maintaining the flexibility for her family. “I would also love to implement hosting some fun events for others in our community that would allow for some social time, as well as organize at the same time.” Katrina is hoping to involve more community businesses in designing organized spaces. “It may be down the road a bit, but I would love to see our business grow more partnerships so we can tackle bigger projects.” Organizing projects come in all sizes. “We spent several days helping a client go through her parent's photo albums, dividing pictures, reminiscing, and getting to know her family and her getting to know us and ours. We had a wonderful time and helped her with her goal of organizing those photos,” said Erica. For Katrina, some of her stories are from clients who share the experience of their kids seeing the new space, whether it’s their own rooms or another area of the home they worked to improve. “They are always so excited to check things out and they really take pride in it. After finishing one of our children’s rooms projects, we came back for a different area in the home the following week. As I was adding more hangers in her closet, she came in to show me how nicely she had folded her t-shirts in her divided drawers. “I kept it almost exactly like you did!” It was super cute!” House to Home can implement their experience in space planning and functional design to help you realize your home's potential. “Hiring us does not mean you failed or couldn't do it yourself. It's treating yourself to a service that will relieve your stress, anxiety, and give you a sense of control of your space around you,” says Erica. “Ultimately, we want to give you the tools and confidence to continue this process on your own in the future.” There is no pressure to commit and they are very flexible. “We view cleaning and tidying as morally neutral, so there is never any judgment from us!” says Katrina. “We are happy to discuss questions during the phone consultation and can give you clear expectations/results after the in-home consultation.” Offering three different choices to choose from depending on the scale of the project, always recommending the most cost effective and beneficial option. “We cater every project to each client’s specific needs and given that our business is all inclusive, we take care of everything from start to finish, depending on the client’s wishes. We are here for you!” For Katrina, a completed project and seeing its immediate results is very satisfying, but what brings her the most joy is how relieved people are when she and Erica are completed with a home and seeing how pleased and proud the clients are of their home. “Our clients often like to show us areas of the home where they did their own organizing after we completed a project for them and I love seeing how they apply what they learned with us!” [ aw ]

“Knowing that I helped someone with their worry or stress and that it can bring a sense of peace or calm to their life brings me joy. We all deserve to have that lifted from time to time.” says Erica. [AW] October / November 23 :: 33




uffering from headaches and dizziness, 30-year-old Amida Mulasi visited the emergency room at Essentia Health-Fargo in November 2022. Believing she had a bad case of the flu, Amida was shocked to discover that she was pregnant – with twins.

A few days later, Amida was readmitted to the hospital for heavy bleeding. The mother of three was in for another surprise when the technician administering the ultrasound made an additional discovery. “The moment she put the ultrasound machine on my belly, I saw her pause and I asked, ‘What’s going on?’ ” recalls Amida. “I remember her saying, ‘It’s not twins – I think there are more than two,’ and I asked, ‘What do you mean there are more than two?’ ”

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Amida called her husband, Patrick Mulasi, and had the technician explain what she had found. Over the course of a week, what had been identified as two baby heart beats turned into three. She was expecting triplets. Amida was connected with Dr. Michelle Wyatt, who specializes in maternal-fetal medicine, and Dr. Angela Strang. Both closely followed Amida’s progress through weekly ultrasounds and checkups.

Photos & Story by Essentia Health

In late April, Amida’s water broke. She wasn’t due until Aug. 2. Patrick rushed his wife to Essentia Health-Fargo, where she was admitted to the birthing center on April 30.

Amida had such a positive experience that she has decided to go back to school.

“I’m going back in January,” she explains. “They inspired me to return to school and become a nurse so I can take care of people.”

Passionate, Family-Centered Care

State-of-the-art technology and large private suites await you and your baby throughout your labor, delivery and postpartum experience at Essentia Health-Fargo. Each 420-square-foot suite includes a fireplace, music, dimmable lighting, aromatherapy, mini fridge, a whirlpool tub and more. Birth partners also now have a couch that converts to a sleeper sofa for a more comfortable stay.

“I was worried I was going to get those babies that day,” admits Amida. She recalls meeting her neonatologist, Dr. Justin Sharp, who came by to introduce himself. “He looked like he just came from church,” she said. “He held my hand and prayed with me and told me everything will be OK, and I knew it would be.” A Christian and father of twin boys, Dr. Sharp connected with Amida. “There was definitely a timing about us meeting,” he explains. “To hear where she was at, processing the birth of triplets, and having been hospitalized earlier for signs of early labor, I felt compelled to share and be vulnerable with her in an effort to give her peace of mind.” On Saturday, May 13, the day of the baby shower, Amida gave birth to one boy and two girls – Israel, Abigail, and Naomi.

“I’ve been telling people that Essentia is the best hospital, and not just because of the building, but because of the people who work there,” she says. “As a woman who is pregnant, you pass through so much and when you don’t have that good nurse and doctor support, you cannot do it without them.” From her husband and family, friends and coworkers, to all her doctors, and the entire care team, Amida has felt nothing but encouragement. Her nurses in the birthing center and the NICU have stood out to Amida the most.

“Those nurses, they didn’t just leave us once we were done; they became part of our family,” she explains. “They continue to check on us and ask about the babies. While it wasn’t easy for us, this was a blessing of a pregnancy; God brought and prepared people to come into my life, to come along this journey with me.”

An extensive remodel of the birthing center was completed in the fall of 2021. We offer expert, passionate, family-centered care as the only Baby-Friendly® designated hospital in the region and in an environment that meets the preferences and health needs of you and your baby. Patients remain in the suite after they have delivered their baby, which is part of Essentia’s labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) model of care. Staffed 24/7 by board-certified neonatologists, nurse practitioners and nurses, our NICU is equipped to provide high-quality specialty care for your baby. Advanced technology and single patient rooms offer a healing environment to babies with complex medical needs or who are born early. Families can room in with their baby or utilize the on-site Ronald McDonald Family Room to recharge, eat and shower. [ aw ]

At 28 weeks and three days, all three babies were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at Essentia Health-Fargo. A NICU is an area of the hospital designed to provide specialized care to critically ill and premature infants. Essentia Health-Fargo’s NICU is equipped with advanced medical technology and staffed by neonatologists and other professionals who are trained to care for our tiniest patients.

“The babies did well compared to how much support they might have needed,” explained Dr. Sharp. “All three required a moderate degree of breathing support.”

Experience the birthing center and NICU by taking a virtual tour today. Visit

By July 8, all three of Amida and Patrick’s babies were released from the hospital. Since giving birth, Amida has felt joy and peace of mind. [AW] October / November 23 :: 35



The days are shorter, the nights are cooler, and our fall schedules are back in full swing. As the seasons change and we spend more time indoors, it feels right to change the look of our homes, patios, and porches to reflect the arrival of autumn. But, if your fall decorations are feeling a little tired or outdated, don’t stress. You don’t need to throw everything out and start over. Local art and design experts say a dash of creativity and a discerning eye are more important than spending a ton of money.

“The celebration of the season doesn’t need to come from a store when you live in an area such as North Dakota that brings it to your front door for free.” – Maria Bosak owner of Eco Chic Home

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Add Autumnal Elements to Kitchen and Living Spaces

Sarah Liljestrand has been dreaming up creative home and garden concepts for most of her adult life. She and her husband, Michael, co-own Holland’s Landscaping and Garden, which recently relocated to downtown Fargo from Moorhead. That location is new, but the business has deep roots in the Fargo-Moorhead community. “Holland’s has been around for over 50 years and we’ve owned it for the past 22 years,” she explains. “My husband and I both worked for the previous owner and started in high school, so we’ve kind of always been in this line of work!”

In order to keep things fresh, the shop adds new plants and home décor every week. Liljestrand says you don’t have to change everything in a room to give it a fresh look for fall. She recommends focusing on gathering spaces like living rooms and kitchens for a quick and cost-effective fall makeover. “The easiest way is just to change up a blanket or pillows or maybe a new rug,” she explains. “We have many new things for the kitchen in more earthy colors like browns and oranges.”

Select Engaging Fall Scents

Rich fall textiles add a nice visual element to a room’s décor. Some of fall’s headiest memories are connected to our sense of smell: the tang of wood smoke, the dry, earthly crunch of leaves underfoot, or the spices that flavor a freshly-baked pie.

Open your windows or reach for your recipe book to capture the scents of the season. If you’re pressed for time, candles can provide a shortcut; Holland’s keeps several go-to fall scents on hand.

take stock of what you have. Those Christmas boxes might yield some interesting greenery or pale white birch branches, which can really pop against more muted tones.

“We make all of our own candles and the pumpkin candles are always very popular,” says Liljestrand. “We have one called ‘Bonfire’ that’s very popular this year.”

She also stresses that you don’t need to go out and buy all new planters. It’s easier to re-use what you have and it’s probably time to pull out those scorched annuals anyway. “It’s been a really hot summer and a lot of things are looking tired now, so you want to change them up seasonally, particularly with petunias,” she says.

The homey smells of vanilla, apple cider, and maple syrup can also unlock visceral fall memories. Spicy scents like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are also a good bet.

Photos by Eco Chic Home

Create an Elegant Centerpiece

Mixing materials also works well for indoor arrangements like centerpieces. For a clean and elegant look, Maria Bosak, owner of Eco Chic Home in Fargo, suggests leaving those over-the-top autumnal items like turkeys, cornucopias, and pilgrims in the closet and looking to nature instead. “Your table centerpiece (or table scape) does not need to feature a cornucopia to represent a harvest of abundance in the season,” she insists. “You can simply use natural elements to symbolize the changing of seasons. Fall-inspired decor pieces, such as auburn florals or earth toned stems placed in a vase, will create a beautiful focal point to any table. Place it on a tray or shallow basket with a few layering elements such as candles.”

Mix Fresh and Dried Elements in your Planters

Colorful gourds, mums, dried corn stalks, and hay bales are tried-and-true fall décor pieces. People tend to use each element individually, arranging corn stalks by the front door, grouping gourds together, and filling planters with cheerful orange or yellow mums.

Liljestrand suggests starting with what you already own. Pull out your fall decorations and

Keeping the color palette muted makes pulling everything together easy. Many of the vases, vessels, and accent pieces on the shelves at Eco Chic Home neutral in color, so they work well with items customers already own. Bosak says some of the most showstopping décor elements are free and available right outside your door. “Take it one step further and harvest a sampling of wheat or other grain for the vase or clip a few branches or stems from your own yard,” she suggests. “The celebration of the season doesn’t need to come from a store when you live in an area such as North Dakota that brings it to your front door for free.”

Craft a Colorful Tablescape

If you’d like a more colorful table, Grace Heinen has some excellent news. Over the last few years, neutrals have reigned supreme. But Heinen says that color is back in a big way.

Liljestrand says that combining fresh and dried elements make a planter feel more contemporary. She recommends keeping things in the same color family so contrasting textures can really shine. “I like using tone on tone, combining greens, creamy colors, and browns,” she says. “You could do white and green gourds with some kale, some really cool ornamental peppers, and some dried grasses and florals.”

Photo by Holland's Landscaping and Garden

Photo by Holland's Landscaping and Garden

And she would know. Heinen is an event stylist with The White House Co., a woman-owned, Fargo-based business that rents décor, furniture, dishes, glassware, and more for weddings, parties, events, and photoshoots, so she watches color trends emerge in real time. Reds, oranges, and golds are always appropriate for an autumn gathering. Additionally, her clients like to push the boundaries with more unexpected combinations.

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“We see a lot of amber, burgundies, sometimes pops of blue,” Heinen says. “Even if it’s not necessarily a fall color, blue can be its own neutral and add that pop of color. It’s found in nature, but it’s still fun with other colors in combination.” Texture is just as compelling as color. Heinen loves combining the tactile element of neutral stoneware with vibrantly colored accents, like bold glassware and textiles. “In a tablescape, it’s good to layer the elements,” she explains. “We might use bright jewel tones on a table runner and layer a napkin on top. We’ve been seeing a lot of glassware, which just adds a different texture. We like to do a monochromatic look because that’s a little easier on the eye and makes those colors pop.” Don’t have the cash to update your plates or glassware? No worries. You can always rent from The White House Co. If that’s not in the budget, Heinen also suggestions serving a colorful beverage in clear glasses or color coordinating your menu to match the décor.

“We are seeing more fall color schemes incorporating deeper gemstone colors like teal, emerald green, and ruby.” Nancy Ness, Painter

Photo by Flowers by Love Always Floral Event Stylist Grace Heinen

Experiment with New Fall Color Combinations

To learn how to take your color scheme to the next level, talk to an artist. Nancy Ness creates vivid, highly textured paintings that showcase bold, richly saturated colors and eye-catching metallic touches that grab your attention from across the room. The Fargo artist, who has also honed her creativity as a hairstylist and makeup artist before turning her attention to painting and exhibiting her creations at Gallery 4, shows us how to update our existing fall decorations and create compelling new color combinations this season. “We are seeing more fall color schemes incorporating deeper gemstone colors like teal, emerald green, and ruby,” Ness explains. “Oranges are expected and traditional, but put the oranges next to blues and greens, and the colors really come to life.”

Photos by Nancy Ness, Painter

Ness says not to worry if your closets are bursting with orange and black decorations. It’s easy to re-imagine that traditional color scheme. “The décor in the traditional orange and black color themes can go the extra mile by having an attribute that is unexpected,” she explains. “Adding gilded metals or additions like glitter or lights can level up the traditional pumpkin or skull decorations. I like adding in other neutrals along with orange and black like white or ivory.”

Try Texture— Even on Pumpkins

“Fall isn’t only about bright orange and red, it’s also about textures like cable knit, fur, or sherpa,” says Missy Palczewski, co-owner of Burlap, a rustic chic boutique in south Fargo. “It’s the time of year that I get to bring gorgeous dusty velvets back into the design mix.” Palczewski, who balances her work as a shop owner with a career as a cardiovascular sales rep, says that texture is everywhere this season. Fall is the perfect time to treat yourself to a cozy cable knit throw, furry pillows, or a luxe velvet accent.

Photos by Burlap She even sees this texture obsession popping up on perhaps the most quintessential fall decoration—the pumpkin. Customers can find this symbol of the season in a huge range of materials this autumn.

“Wood pumpkins add texture and match almost any décor or style,” says Palczewski. “ I gave hand-carved paulownia wood pumpkins to a friend who prefers minimalist designs and has a midcentury modern home and they look amazing in her kitchen.”

“The fall of 2023 seems to be arriving with trends of geometric shapes, metals and concrete pumpkins in neutral colors,” Palczewski says. “Pumpkins that look like they are wrapped in a stunning cable knit sweater are my personal favorite this year, especially in cream. A close second would be a neutral plaid pattern—nothing screams an ‘up north’ fall like plaid!”

The takeaway

The clean lines of wood pumpkins appeal to those with a more streamlined aesthetic. They can be added to any tableau, but they also look striking on their own.

“Variety is key in creating interest,” Nancy Ness reminds us. “And balancing the new with the old creates a lovely harmony.” [ aw ]

The experts agree; you don’t have to start from scratch to make your fall décor really pop. Chances are, you already have many of the items you need to create a striking autumn scene in your home or garden. A thoughtful combination of elements creates a curated look that stands the test of time.

“Variety is key in creating interest. And balancing the new with the old creates a lovely harmony.” Nancy Ness, Painter

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Discussing Hormone Therapy and Menopause A recent article in The New York Times shined a light on an issue that many in the hormone therapy and wellness community have known for years: Menopause, with its distressing and sometimes debilitating symptoms, has been tragically undertreated for decades.

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The article, written by reporter Susan Dominus and published Feb 1, 2023, is titled: “Women Have Been Misled About Menopause”. The author’s own journey through menopause is the catalyst for her deep dive into the complex and often frustrating issues surrounding menopausal symptoms and how they are addressed in our healthcare system. She interviews experts in the field and reviews current and past research on the subject. Her investigations led her to the conclusion that women are experiencing unnecessary barriers to access a safe and effective treatment for their menopausal symptoms: hormone therapy. Most experts on the subject, as well as the author of the article, agree that much of the reluctance and fear around using hormone therapy to treat menopause can be traced back to the preliminary findings from a large and influential study known as The Women’s Health Initiative, or WHI. One of the things the WHI researchers were investigating was the safety of hormone therapy. In 2002, the researchers made a very public announcement that they had found increases in health risks for women using hormone therapy for menopause. They concluded that the risk of hormone therapy outweighed the benefit and stopped their trial early. However, since that time, many experts have determined that the design of the study was flawed, and a closer look at the research shows that their negative conclusions about hormone therapy were misleading or overstated.

The poor communication surrounding the study's findings resulted in widespread fear and misunderstanding. Additionally, the age and health status of the patients WHI studied was not reflective of the true patient population. Now, many experts agree that for the vast majority of women experiencing menopausal symptoms, hormone therapy is safe and effective. Unfortunately, the fervor and frenzy surrounding the release of the WHI conclusions had a chilling effect on healthcare providers and their willingness to consider hormone therapy. And as the article points out, this effect is still felt to some degree even today. However, there is a silver lining. The presence of an article like this in such a prominent publication is a signal that the ice is melting. Attitudes toward hormone therapy for menopause are beginning to change and the struggles many women face in navigating treatment are being acknowledged. The biggest take home from Ms. Dominus’s story is the importance of providing accurate information and context when discussing menopause and hormone therapy. It calls for better education and awareness among healthcare professionals and the general public to ensure that women are offered appropriate treatment options that can significantly improve their quality of life during menopause. If you are a woman struggling with menopause, you are encouraged to speak with your healthcare provider about the options available to ease your symptoms. [ aw ]

InHealth Specialty Pharmacy offers individual consultations to develop customized plans to help women navigate menopause and menopausal-related symptoms.

For those interested in learning more or would like to get started with a Hormone and Wellness Consult at InHealth Specialty Pharmacy contact us by phone at:

701-365-6050 or go online and visit us at: [AW] October / November 23 :: 41



0.15ctw, 18K White Gold Tresore Stretch Ring $1,705.00 at GUNDERSONS, 5601 28th Ave S, Fargo, ND

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Home décor to fit any style and any space. Premium furniture brands Craftmaster and Rowe offer customizable pieces that are made in the USA. We have 500+ fabrics to choose from. SCHEELS Home & Hardware has home accent pieces to bring the fall vibes into your home. All items available at

Scheels Home & Hardware, 3202 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND

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Her drive and flexible thinking served her well as she established herself as a designer and built her business, Aesthetic Interiors, with Mary Lystad. When Kris connected with Linda at that fateful hockey tournament, they were technically competitors.


Linda was also exposed to the magic of interior design at a young age. Her grandma, Inga Peterson, and her mother, DeMaris Odland, took her on shopping trips that sparked an interest in décor. “I grew up with my grandmother flipping houses, so it was always in the back of my mind,” Linda explains. “She and my grandfather would buy a house, update it, and she would decorate it and buy new paint. I would go with her to pick out furniture. My mom would go along, too, so there’d be three generations. Grandma Inga was very conscious about colors and textures, so I think that’s where it all began.”

usinesses are launched in all kinds of unlikely locations. Designingwomen2, a longtime residential and commercial interior design firm, took shape as two Fargo designers, Linda Birmingham and Kris Carlson, chatted in the stands during a high school sporting event in 2009. They were from different ends of the city, but worked in the same field. “She was a Northsider, I was a Southsider, and our boys played hockey together,” explains Linda. “We were at a tournament one weekend. We started talking and thought, “’Why don’t we join forces?’ So that’s how Designingwomen2 came to be.” The decision didn’t happen out of the blue. Both women had deep roots in the community and years of design experience. Kris has been a design enthusiast since she started cutting out photos of intriguing interiors back in elementary school. She’s inspired by “change, growth, and thinking outside the box” and follows design trends from around the globe.

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This collaborative, DIY introduction to decorating shaped Linda’s perspective. She learned on the job in the Scheels home décor department and later attended a seminar in West Palm Beach, Florida that changed her design trajectory. The instructor, Carole Talbott, reused, repurposed, and rearranged pieces that her clients already owned in her redesign of room arrangements. Combining well-loved and brand-new elements in new and effective ways was familiar to Linda. After all, it’s what she’d grown up seeing her grandma do. Linda and her business partner, Julie Erickson, felt that this element was missing from the Fargo-Moorhead interior design scene, so they opened Visual Coordinations. The company’s name and philosophy were inspired by that West Palm Beach seminar. When Linda and Kris re-connected at that fateful hockey tournament, they weren’t just blending two personal approaches to interior design.

They were also combining two successful businesses and four business owners, each of whom had their own distinct approach and style. Designingwomen2 is actually pronounced “Designing Women Squared.” (If your high school math skills are a little rusty, squaring a number means that you multiply it by itself, so the number two squared equals four.) It’s a clever way to note the merger of two businesses and four women into one entity. (Also, the fact that the name references the popular Delta Burke and Jean Smart sitcom about interior designers doesn’t hurt either.)

"COVID-19 changed things a lot in our industry."

Kris Carlson

Now, Julie and Mary have retired and Kris and Linda continue to take clients by appointment. The pandemic disrupted the interior design business, just like it challenged nearly every industry. “COVID-19 changed things a lot in our industry,” Kris explains. “Initially, with the supply chain of goods being drastically slow, the projects didn’t flow easily from start [AW] October / November 23 :: 45

use something, keep it out, because we will find things that will work with the design.” The result is a room that feels like it has been curated over time—because most of the time, it has been curated over time. Since they blend new additions and heirlooms, DesigningWomen2 interiors never feel cookie cutter. Instead, a detailed consultation and ongoing conversations throughout the project ensure that every element emphasizes the owners’ personalities, interests, and hobbies.

“The pandemic also changed the nature of shopping,” Kris continues. “Online shopping grew exponentially as people started working from home. We are a design service specializing in items not available online in order to curate a look which is unique to each customer. For us, thankfully the lack of (in person) shoppers has not caused problems.” Because the DesigningWomen2 approach is so customized, and because it de-emphasizes fixtures, fabrics, and furniture easily found on-line, the company came out of the worst of the pandemic unscathed. It also helps that the designers love to use beautiful and meaningful items that customers already own, just like Linda learned in that workshop years ago. “There are people that want to keep all those treasures out,” Linda explains. “There are certain homeowners who are saying, ‘I want a little bit of old mixed in with some of the new.’ That’s the most fun part of our job, just pulling it all together. So whether they order new furniture or new light fixtures, or they’re doing a build or a remodel, we tell the homeowner if you want to

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That said, most of the clients Designingwomen2 serves have little practical experience with interior design. Kris sees a designer as both a translator and a guide, an expert who can focus in on the original vision and guide the project to its completion. “Customers lean on designers to hone in on their look,” Kris explains. “Words which describe design styles can often mean different things to different people. It’s our job to really listen to what is said, assess how a customer lives, and filter out the kind of looks they are feel drawn to naturally. Although

to finish. Thankfully, supply issues are almost back to normal. Freight costs went up a great deal, which is still an issue. We don’t have enough truckers to transport, thus supply and demand creates high freight costs.” Supply chain challenges forced the designers to connect with new vendors via social media, which offered their clients more options. Kris adds that Designingwomen2’s unique business model continues to insulate the company from seismic changes in the way that consumers shop.

eral spas, creative advertising agencies, and real estate companies.) They typically come in with at least an idea of what they want. “People seem to know their style a little better now, because of social media and Pinterest,” Linda says. “It’s easier to communicate to us what their taste and their thoughts are because they can look at picture and say, ‘I like this, this feels right to me.’”

Kris and Linda also prize finishes, fabrics, and furniture that blend beauty and practicality. (Linda, a busy grandmother who frequently entertains at her lake cabin, cites stain resistant performance fabrics as one of her favorite trends.) Their rooms are designed to be used, lived in, and appreciated. Both women are quick to point out that their clients’ tastes direct every decision they make and to note that their clients come from a variety of backgrounds. Most appreciate the power of aesthetics. (In addition to countless private homes, the Designingwomen2 portfolio also boasts sev-

people seem to like to look online and find good deals, many still prefer designers to pull a look together.” After the initial consultations, the pair frequently text, call, and meet with their clients to keep the conversation flowing. And new technology makes it easy to show the clients exactly how Designingwomen2 will execute their vision. “Back in the day, we would have to draw everything out,” Linda says. “Now there are programs that we use to do floor plans. We do idea boards so people can actually see the product they’re getting.” Focusing on personal style and showcases meaningful pieces collected over time protects Designingwomen2’s clients from a common interior design pitfall—a home or office that feels like a time capsule because it was decorated all at once (and often using products from the same vendor). Kris says that sticking with a look that has stood the test of time will keep the space from looking dated.

and blue is a neutral. Look at all the green around us. Green is a color we all crave in winter. Light woods, warm woods, and a creamier, warmer shade of white are all coming back.” Designingwomen2 also emphasizes texture as a way to add interest, even when the color palette is natural, restrained, or monochromatic. There are more options now than ever before. “Texture is a trend I don’t think should ever go away,” Linda says. “We’re seeing a lot of eco-friendly and natural fibers, like grass cloth wallpaper, things that don’t jump out at you, but are very subtle. It’s a great way to make things look different when it’s all tone on tone.” The possibilities are endless. Kris and Linda love connecting with their clients and giving them the tools to re-imagine their homes and workspace.

Texture is a trend I don’t think should ever go away. Linda Birmingham

“Meeting new people is my favorite part,” says Kris. “Coming up with creative ideas to present is exciting. There are literally limitless opportunities to design spaces that aren’t a replica from a picture.”

“I’m happy to see a return to more timeless classic looks,” she says. “Large design shifts that come in huge waves tend to go out almost as fast as they begin.” Linda, a self-described “color person,” is happy to see color trending for walls and cabinets. She says selecting textiles, paint, and accents that mimic the shades found in the natural world are an easy and timeless way to add interest to a room.

Once someone loves Designingwomen2’s work, they often come back. A client might hire Kris and Linda to furnish a bachelor pad or help them remodel their first starter home as newlyweds. Many call again when it’s time to decorate a home that’s big enough for a growing family, to furnish their new lake cabin, or help them decide what makes the cut when they move into the property where they’ll spend their retirement. Linda and Kris are honored to be able to assist every step of the way. “When you live inside for so many months out of the year, you should really be happy inside your home,” Linda says. “It should bring you joy.” [ aw ]

“People almost always say, ‘Let’s stay with the neutrals,” she says. “But what they don’t realize is that when you look outside, the sky is blue— [AW] October / November 23 :: 47




ibby Martin always knew she wanted to be a designer since some of her earliest design memories were filled with carefully crafting floor plans for cat houses in notebooks and rearranging her parents' living room when they weren’t home. She’s now the Lead Designer at Remix Design Studio (which she runs with Rick Halvorson Construction Inc.) in Dilworth, Minnesota. They focus on two areas of design: remodeling and interior design. Next door to Remix Design Studio, they also have The Mix, which is a store filled with perfect gift ideas and many beautiful objects that can be used for designing spaces, such as pillows, candles, and floral items.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Libby Martin and Ashley Mickelson, Designer and Studio Manager at Remix Design Studio. The studio aesthetic was restful and artistic, showcasing shelves with an array of grouted tiles, each boasting distinct colors and designs akin to artwork, thoughtfully curated décor and an inviting green kitchen nestled in the back. Libby and Ashley buzzed with enthusiasm throughout our conversation revolving around their profound passion for design and a desire to be a place for the community to come home.

“When helping someone design a home and they are crying on closing day because they love it– saying they could never have done this on their own or they thank me for making the process so easy, that kind of thing is gratifying for me. Just to know I’ve used what I’m gifted with to help someone else is wonderful,” said Libby. Whenever new customers come in, they can be overwhelmed with all the choices, especially when they have to make several decisions, so it helps being able to go into a calm and visually pleasing atmosphere like Remix Design Studio.

The Inspiration Behind the Design “I want to make sure our design makes sense for the client,” said Libby. She went on to say that she wanted to honor the client’s budget, but also that it aligns with their dreams and their current lifestyle. “It’s important that the design makes sense for your family and life.” “For instance, it wouldn’t make sense if you had toddlers and we put breakable items on the coffee table. That would only bring stress and anxiety to your life instead of joy. We want to add value and joy to your life and home,” said Ashley.

Enthusiasm radiated as Libby and Ashley chatted about their work. For Ashley, her love of design began pre-Pinterest. “I enjoyed finding magazines and ripping out all the pages I liked; then I’d put those in my binder. I would think about how someday I would get to do this type of work. I think that’s where I get the butterflies.” With designing or staging, Ashley goes to different stores to grab everything she wants to work with. I bring it all home and put together the pieces. I then bring anything that doesn’t fit back to the stores. And that’s what’s perfect about having The Mix next door–since we can work with the store directly.” [AW] October / November 23 :: 51

“I want to make sure our design makes sense for the client. It’s important that the design makes sense for your family and life.” // Libby Martin

Being next door to The Mix also allows them to pick and choose items to decorate and stage the houses with. If they are in need of pillows or furniture, they can find it there. And if they can’t find it there, they can order special pieces. The collaborative synergy between The Mix and Remix Design Studio significantly enhances their ability to curate captivating house interiors. They work closely with store sales associates to pick out new merchandise, leveraging their expertise to source or make custom orders for their desired goals.

The Remix Design Studio Origin Story Libby went to school for interior design. “I was born and raised in North Carolina and went to school in Los Angeles. I worked in Washington DC. So I’ve kind of been everywhere. My husband is originally from Minnesota, so I’ve lived here for about 16 years now. I stayed home with my boys while they were younger.” She had always wanted to get back into design because that’s where her passion was. “I went back to work full time when my youngest went to 5th grade and I worked at a local homebuilder as a designer there.” When Libby opened the design studio, that’s when she brought Ashley on to help with the store and studio, which was perfect because she’d always wanted to do something with design. “Ashley does really cool stuff on Instagram; she has a good eye for design,” said Libby.

They opened in May after working throughout March and April to get the studio ready. “I reached out to Ashley and asked her what her dream job was and she rattled off her list. We were thinking whomever we wanted here would cross over between the store and the studio, while also doing design, and that was all on her list. It was a perfect fit for what she wanted to do and what we were looking for and it was close to home for her as well. She started May first and that’s when we opened the doors.” The Mix used to take up both of the spaces where Remix Design Studio and The Mix currently are. “It had older, more antique-y things with a mix of new items,” said Libby. “The owner, Rick, was looking for someone who’d take it over when he

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"Ashley does really cool stuff on Instagram; she has a good eye for design,”

// Libby Martin

retired.” Libby had known him for a few years. “My son and his grandson play baseball together. He actually asked me If I would open up a coffee shop before I went back to work at a local homebuilder. And I said no, that I really want to get back into design.” After this, Libby and Rick talked shop anytime they saw each other at baseball games and last fall he approached her and asked her if he opened a design studio, if she’d run it. He said he’d teach her everything he knew and that eventually she could buy it and run it. “I thought how could I say no to that? It all fell into place,” Libby said. [AW] October / November 23 :: 53

Mission & Vision Looking Ahead

Day In The Life As A Designer

When asked what she loved about the mission behind the studio, Libby said it was being able to create a place close to home for people in the Fargo-Moorhead community so they can create their best homes and lives. “We want to make people feel like they are home, whatever that idea looks like for them,” said Libby. “Part of this is that community is our mission. I really want to do classes here. And they might not have anything to do with design, but something like charcuterie board making, candle pouring, or water coloring.” Her strong desire is to create a space where people from the community can come to relax while creating something unique that they can add to their homes. It would be an experience people could enjoy with family and friends.

A day in the life of a designer looks different depending on the day. Libby may be running to design meetings, rearranging the entire store with Ashley, hanging up 12 pictures, or sorting through 15 pallets of new products for the store. “I mostly focus on the remodeling side and Ashley focuses more on the store. For me, it’s a bit different. I can be gone a lot. I would say three days a week I have appointments elsewhere. Or, we might have clients coming here to pick out things, or I might go pick out appliances or plumbing fixtures then meet with a client to get a bid on a remodel job. Mainly, I meet with clients and look at their scope of work.”

“We want to make people feel like they are home, whatever that idea looks like for them.” // Libby Martin

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Design is Magic It’s magical when you see the transformation a house takes after it’s been remodeled or styled. When styling a new house, Ashley said the most enjoyable part is seeing how it had been an empty shell of a house, but after being staged, people can actually imagine seeing themselves living there. Design has the remarkable power to elevate and enrich a person's life within the walls of their home. It goes beyond aesthetics, transcending into an essential component of daily living. Thoughtfully curated design elements, from the arrangement of furniture to the choice of color palettes, have the ability to evoke emotions, enhance functionality, and create an atmosphere of comfort. A well-designed home becomes a canvas for self-expression, reflecting the home owner’s personality, values, and experiences. Each carefully selected piece not only serves a purpose but also contributes to the overall harmony and balance of the space. In this way, design transforms a mere house into a haven, a place where individuals find solace, inspiration, and a true reflection of their identity.

Remix Design Studio’s dedication shines through in their attention to detail and the personalized approach to each unique project. They take the time to understand their clients' lifestyles, preferences, and aspirations, ensuring that every design choice aligns with their client's vision. It sets them apart and it shows that this isn’t just work to them. It’s a chance to help make their clients lives richer and happier in their homes with their families. With a focus on fostering a sense of belonging and comfort, they go beyond mere aesthetics, crafting living spaces that truly become warm homes for those who live in them.

A Place to Call Home - Remix + The Mix Libby and Ashley, truly are a dynamic duo when it comes to helping clients make brilliant choices for their homes. They are also compassionate souls dedicated to crafting exceptional experiences for their community. When new and old clients alike step into their studio, Ashely noted how people come in and are in awe of the place. “It clearly looks like a design studio, but it’s not in your face with products and vendor marketing,” said Ashley.

56 ::

Remix Design Studio is a space that defies expectations. It’s a relaxing haven for visitors where they can think creatively about their home. Every detail inside the studio was thoughtfully staged, which makes the atmosphere perfect for dreaming up answers to their client’s house problems or dreams. For Libby, design isn't just a profession; it's a manifestation of her deep-rooted love for nature, family, her dog, and connections. Her enjoyment of the outdoors makes its way into her designs, with a profusion of plants and an emphasis on natural elements. Ashley draws her inspiration from her own family. She shares her personal journey that fuels her design philosophy. With a growing family that includes four-year-old twins, Ashley's aspiration is to create a haven that resonates with her kids, putting smiles on their faces, and creating a feeling of togetherness; these are the emotions she strives to evoke through her decorating. It's this heartfelt connection to family and the yearning to make every home a place of love, which is what drives Ashley's dedication. Just as she desires a haven for her family, she ardently wishes the same for clients, aiming

to build not just beautiful spaces, but nurturing environments where families can thrive. In a world that’s constantly buzzing with crazy energy and activity, our homes are our sanctuaries, which means it’s so important to make your home restful and some place that your family can relax, find solace, connection, and rejuvenation. It should be a retreat of sorts, a place to recuperate from the wild everyday life outside of your home life. In the midst of life's demanding hustle, the prospect of redesigning or rejuvenating a space can be daunting. It can be overwhelming, but the weight of decision-making is lightened, replaced by the joy of collaborating with someone that knows your goals and dreams for your sanctuary. The Remix Design Studio journey is not solely about crafting visually appealing spaces, but about curating environments that mirror the lives and aspirations of those who dwell in them– to bring their clients home. [ aw ]

“It clearly looks like a design studio, but it's not in your face with products and vendor marketing.” // Ashley Mickelson

[AW] October / November 23 :: 57



words from :: dawn duncan

Nineteen Steps by Millie Bobby Brown

In her debut novel, Millie Bobby Brown, the Emmy-nominated actress and producer, tells the story of events that stem from her family’s experience in World War II. "Nineteen Steps" is a moving story of love, loss, darkness, and uncertainty, but ultimately one of triumph. Fans know Millie Bobby Brown mainly from her hit shows Enola Holmes and Stranger Things, but "Nineteen Steps" showcasing her prowess as a historical writer and keen observer of family and events. The novel is set in 1942 when London is under attack and in a constant state of fear as the war continues. Nellie Morris, the novel’s main character, lives in the Bethnal Green neighborhood and each day, Nellie lives her life with gratitude that she is still alive and her family is with her. Eventually, she meets a man named Ray, an American solider stationed nearby and they begin a romance. However, an accident occurs as the couple’s love affair is building and as her world is shattered, Nellie begins the climb from devastation to overcoming odds. Those who love non-fiction, historical tales peppered with sentiment and heartfelt nuances, and also stories of true love will be instantly engaged by "Nineteen Steps." It is a novel that may ultimately lead to Millie Bobby Brown continuing the pen bestsellers; her ability to not only relay a story but also enrapture the reader instantly through character development is what will ultimately build her fan base. Give "Nineteen Steps" a try if you love a true story of loss paired with overcoming adversity; you’ll find the glimpses of hope and victory in this novel inspiring.

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A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris

I had the honor of meeting David Sedaris at one of his readings a few years ago. Already a raving fan who had devoured each of his works fervently, it was a pleasure to briefly visit with a man I consider one of the more prolific writers of our time. He’s as funny in person as he is in his writing and I found the encounter especially amusing given that he was snacking on shrimp cocktail and an okay Chardonnay throughout the encounter, as a line formed to have books signed. Through his humor, self-deprecation, and wit, Sedaris has built a cult following, with followers eager to read the next line of humor from him, whether fiction or blatant laugh-out-loud stories from his life. Devotèes may note some overlap of material here and there from Sedaris’ book "The Best of Me," or perhaps a joke or two stemming from book signings that he has mentioned previously, but rest assured the humor never falls flat. Sedaris is that person who can tell a joke again and again and somehow still make it seem fresh and funny. "A Carnival of Snackery" delivers on all points of the Sedaris scale: readability, humor, insightful observation, and a keen ability to not take himself too seriously (or at all). Sedaris’ compilation of excerpts from his personal diaries through the years 2003-2020 is an easy-to-read wandering journey through days spent traveling the globe for book tours and the interesting, even odd, people he has met along the way. Sedaris is known for his diaries, the quick lists and random writings he has done throughout his life. His scribbling of notes about the people and things around him have drawn commentary from his family while he was growing up, however, the diaries he has created and saved now provide a foundation for his many beloved books and collections of essays. And, family always show up in Sedaris’ work, whether as inspiration for fictional characters or throughout raucous and gut-busting hilarious tales of his household of six kids and his parents, all of whom have unique traits and quirks. Full of random comments, Sedaris quotes from this collection include ones such as, “Sometimes things happen and I don’t know what to do with my face.” It’s an example of Sedaris’ propensity to analyze his own behavior and how he is perceived by others. Another excerpt includes his entry from August 25, 2005, La Bagotiere. “Don sent a manuscript of his book "How to Be an Agent." They’re stories about his clients, most of them good-natured. On the last page, he talks about Sinclair Lewis, who in 1939 was sent to Wesleyan College to give a lecture. “How many of you want to write?” he asked. Most of the students raised their hands, and he said, “Good. Go home and write.” Then he left the stage. Like Lewis, Sedaris’ response to the world at large is often blatant in delivery. Short and sweet, these notes Sedaris makes pepper his books with the reminder to pay attention, marvel, process, and even critically think about that which we encounter daily. Situations and interactions are the roots of creative speculation.

I have yet to find a Sedaris book that didn’t leave me feeling happier as a result of reading it, and "A Carnival of Snackery" was an easy read and an excellent travel companion on a recent trip out west. The short entries provide good doses of humorous comments and Sedaris is a genius when it comes to peering into humankind and finding the absurdity of situations and reactions. Dive in, even if you are new to Sedaris, and see why this author is so popular; we need more books that make us laugh and that offer a lighthearted lens to peer through in a chaotic world and Sedaris doesn’t disappoint. [ aw ]

Area Woman’s resident editor, creativity coach, author, and artist, Dawn Duncan, finds books worthy of being your weekend companion. Read one of these books? Searching for something new to read? Tell us what you thought by using #areawomanbooks in your online review [AW] October / November 23 :: 59



Sun Matinees Oct 8,15, & 22


By Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood. It’s 1956 and the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein is having its annual quiche breakfast. Will they be able to keep their cool when Communists threaten their idyllic town? "5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche" is a play about women loving women. Love passes between the physical, mental, and metaphysical and we hope to showcase that in the space we create.

Fargo Public Library events are free and open to the public. A complete schedule of upcoming events is available at all Fargo Public Library locations and on our website at :

TIME: Fri-Sat 7:30 PM; Sun 2:00 PM CONTACT: 701-729-8880 or LOCATION: Theatre B - 215 N 10th St, Moorhead, MN

OCT 1 & NOV 18

[ aw ]

Jigsaw Puzzle Social & Swap 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM Fargo Public Library – Main Library, 101 4th St. N. • Christina at 701-241-8199

OCT 1, 8, 15, 22

Live Jazz Returns to the Library! 2:00 PM Fargo Public Library - Main Library, 101 4th St. N. • Beth Postema 701-241-1492

OCT 2 & NOV 6


Oktoberfest celebration on weekends during the month of October. Raffle, 50/50, chance baskets, silent auction, books & puzzles, cork pull, homemade baked and canned goods, puzzles, books, and crafts. On Sunday, October 22, a delicious meatball dinner with all the trimmings will be served from 10am – 1:30pm. Adults - $12.00 & Children ages 10 & under - $6.00. Takeout available. Please contact the church to ask about weekend activities for both adults and children. LOCATION: 2711 7th St. E., West Fargo CONTACT: 701-282-7217




Join us for the sights, sounds, and smells of BBQ. Local teams will compete for the title of Grand Champion. Get all your grilling questions answered at the 2023 NDBBQ Championship. More information at TIME: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM LOCATION: SCHEELS Home & Hardware 3202 13th Ave S Fargo, ND




Style show, local vendors, food samples and over $1,000 in giveaways! Join us for this after hours shopping event.Tickets available at: TIME: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM LOCATION: SCHEELS Home & Hardware 3202 13th Ave S Fargo, ND

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Community Game Nights 5 to 7:30 PM Northport Library, 2714 N. Broadway, Fargo • Lori West 701-476-5977



Rivers as the Thread: Consideration for "Hudson Bay Bound" 6:30 PM Rivers can act as the thread that binds us all together in inseparable community. Tess Varner, PhD will lead a discussion on "Hudson Bay Bound", bringing in themes from the school of philosophical thought called deep ecology. Main Library - Fargo Public Library Lori West 701-476-5977

OCT 5, 12, 19, 26; NOV 2, 9, 16, 30

Beginner Yoga for Adults 6:00 PM Dr. James Carlson Library, 2801 32nd Ave. S., Fargo • Lori West 701-476-5977

OCT 5 & NOV 2

Sense of Place Book Club 11:00 AM Fargo Public Library - Main Library, 101 4th St. N. • Beth Postema at 701-241-1492

OCT 9 & NOV 13

Tea Time Book Club 6:30 PM Dr. James Carlson Library, 2801 32nd Ave. S. • Jenilee at 701-476-5980


What’s a Watershed? with the International Water Institute 6:30 PM Learn more about our watershed, the Red River of the North Basin, with the International Water Institute (IWI). The IWI, a 501(3) (c) non-profit based in Fargo, fosters watershed stewardship through leadership indecision support, environmental monitoring, and educational programming. Fargo Public Library – Main Library, 101 4th St. N. • Lori West 701-476-5977

OCT 12 & NOV 9

Diverse Perspectives Book Club 6:30 PM Fargo Public Library – Main Library, 101 4th St. N. • Megan at 701-476-6615


Senior Book Club 1:00 PM Dr. James Carlson Library, 2801 32nd Ave. S. • Kirstie at 701-298-6954

NOV 5, 12, 26 & DEC 3

November Film Series: Katharine the Great 2:00 PM Actress Katharine Hepburn illuminated the big screen for a remarkable seven decades, earning 12 Oscar nominations and winning the statuette on four occasions. Local film critic Matt Olien hosts the film series and leads a short discussion following each screening. Free popcorn. Fargo Public Library – Main Library, 101 4th St. N. • Lori West 701-476-5977


ChatGPT for All: How Generative Artificial Intelligence Impacts Our Daily Lives 6:00 PM Discover the captivating world of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) where systems like ChatGPT and other Chatbots respond to questions using text and images. We’ll be discussing the upsides and downsides of this cutting-edge technology through a short presentation and an open panel of experts! They’ll share the benefits of using AI in programming and teaching, while also addressing its impact on artists and writers. Join to explore the wonders of Generative AI. Fargo Public Library - Main Library, 101 4th St. N. • Erin A. at 701-476-4040



VENDOR & CRAFT SHOW Come to the vendor & craft show and support small businesses. The show will be from 11-3 and lunch will be served from 11-1. It all takes place at the Fargo Masonic Center, 1405 3rd St N Fargo. TIME: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM LOCATION: Fargo Masonic Center 1405 3rd St N Fargo, ND CONTACT: 701-235-7875 or visit


Featuring Jennifer Rothschild and friends Margaret Feinberg and Michael O'Brien Get ready to experience God’s grace through Bible teaching, story, music, and powerful testimonies. But that’s just the beginning… Fresh Grounded Faith is all about real women, relatable stories, and relevant truth. And that means this event is for YOU! It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’re wearing, where you worship or what you’ve done. It’s a grace-filled place where you are welcome and you are wanted. So wherever you find yourself on your faith journey, come and be refreshed, feel well-loved, learn practical truths from Scripture, and laugh out loud. You’ll find biblical wisdom and hope-filled encouragement to freshen up your faith and ground you more deeply in God’s love, so come on, sister! TIME: 7:00 - 9:00 PM Friday, 9:00 AM -12:30 PM Saturday LOCATION: Hope Lutheran Church - South Campus, 3636 25th St. S., Fargo, ND CONTACT: 701-235-6629 or visit www.


Bring your friends and family for Holiday Photos Nov 4 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM / Nov 5 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM. Wear your best dressed, matching jammies, or your ugliest sweaters! Photos are FREE. (One non perishable item per family member suggested donation for local food pantries.) Photos will be emailed. LOCATION: SCHEELS Home & Hardware 3202 13th Ave S Fargo, ND


Nov th


Celebration of Scottish food, bagpipes, dance, songs, tartans, culture and history. Purchase tickets by November 1 by calling 402-981-2333 TIME: 5:00 PM LOCATION: Courtyard by Marriott, 1080 28th Ave. S., Moorhead, MN CONTACT: Pat Schott at 402-981-2333

Nov 17-19 & Nov 24-26


Folkways invites you to celebrate the holiday season at Christkindlmarkt. Join us for four days of festive cheer in the Outdoor Winter Wonderland, Gift Market, and Bier Hall with Drekker Brewing Company. With food, live musical performances, art demonstrations, holiday treats, and activities for the kids, there's something for everyone to enjoy. TIME: 12:00 - 9:00 PM Friday,12:00 - 9:00 PM Saturday, 12:00 - 6:00 PM Sunday LOCATION: Fargo City Civic Center, 207 4th St N #4817, Fargo, ND

[AW] October / November 23 :: 61

area LIFE

Fumi Cheever's Journey to MSUM

umi Cheever had the grit of a Dragon long before she joined Minnesota State University Moorhead. It was evident when her parents didn’t support their Japanese daughter studying abroad in the United States.

I had a dream [to study abroad] and was determined. In a way, I wasn’t truthful with my parents Fumi Cheever — Director Of Global Engagement, MSUM 62 ::

“I had a dream [to study abroad] and was determined. In a way, I wasn’t truthful with my parents,” says Fumi Cheever, Director of Global Engagement at MSU Moorhead. “I told my parents I was going to community college for two years. It has been 23!” She didn’t deliberately mislead them. However, her experience as an international student inspired a career change from radio deejay to working with international students. With a degree in speech communication focusing on intercultural communications, she was challenged to find her first professional job because she didn’t have a permanent residency card. PHOTOGRAPHY BY: DAVE ARNTSON ARTICLE BY: KRISTI MONSON

When students come to see me, I understand their challenges and excitement because I experienced the same 23 years ago

Fumi Cheever — Director Of Global Engagement, MSUM Her work entails international admission and recruitment, immigration advising, student support and programming, education abroad programs, and internationalization on campus. “The number of students at MSUM is very comfortable and lets me get to know students personally. That's where my heart is – building connections with our students and the community,” she says. “I applied to many jobs in this field, but nobody looked at me because of my visa status. I had experience as an international student advisor but no professional experience,” Cheever says. She struggled, as many of her international students do. She worked at Delta Airlines and a children’s enrichment program, determined to forge a career path in higher education. She met her future husband when she was an undergraduate. They moved to Michigan, where she earned a master’s degree in higher education. She volunteered with multicultural organizations to gain relevant credentials, demonstrating her commitment to the field. She worked with underrepresented populations and immigrants as well as international students at a local college and community members hosting multicultural events. Cheever’s persistence paid off when she finally landed her first professional job working with international students at Eastern Kentucky University.

Connecting students and the community

“When students come to see me, I understand their challenges and excitement because I experienced the same 23 years ago,” Cheever says. “Yet, I feel like it was yesterday. That experience helps me make an instant connection with students.” International student enrollment on U.S. college campuses has declined in recent years. The pandemic, visa delays, rising tuition and restrictive immigration policies have driven new international student enrollment down by 72 percent. (APM reports) Before 2018, MSUM had 415 international students from 52 countries; today, it’s 153 students from 45 countries. Cheever says the numbers are slowly increasing, attributing the gain to word of mouth and strong and unique programs at MSUM, such as nursing, film and animation. “Our students and faculty are promoting MSUM to their family and friends. I’m truly thankful for their efforts.” MSUM’s size helps students adjust, and that is why Cheever chose MSUM.

For example, MSUM’s Career Development Center and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce hosted a business panel discussion sharing information on how to hire international students as interns, with local business leaders sharing their experiences adding international students to their teams. “We hope to continue collaboration to educate the community on how our students can fill the gaps, Cheever said. International students enrich the MSUM student experience and Moorhead-Fargo. “They bring color and vibrancy to the community,” Cheever says. “They can learn from us, and we can learn from them.” MSUM sponsors annual community events such as Celebration of Nations, where international students share information about their home countries through food, art and entertainment; cultural events such as African and Asian nights; or Tri-College University networking opportunities. “It’s rewarding to meet students from around the world,” Cheever says. “Even though I’ve not been to many countries, I have experienced much of the world through our students’ eyes.” [ aw ]




a world where convenience often triumphs our intentional food choices, Renae Cartier

Mitchell, owner and founder of Juice Box Fargo, is here alongside her children Jack and Josephine “to help more people feel better.” As a single mom and three-time business owner, Renae’s path to success has been marked by tenacity, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to her vision.

Renae's entrepreneurial odyssey took flight while she juggled the roles of a young mother and a newfound businesswoman. Amid the chaos of her first-time motherhood, she discovered a passion for crafting wood toys. These creative outlets not only provided emotional solace during difficult life transitions but also ignited her entrepreneurial spirit. As life threw its curveballs, including a divorce in 2010 followed by a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, Renae realized the need for a sustainable income and embarked on a journey of self-discovery. It was in this time that Renae discovered the transformative power of juicing. In fact, she loved juicing so much that she pursued a degree as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Yet, the day-to-day job expectations of this work proved to be a less than adequate fit for Renae: “I have never been the 9 to 5 type of person.” Finding herself yet again in a position filled with questions and uncertainty, Renae asked herself, “What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?”

Her answer? “My kids, and juicing.” “So, what are you going to do? Open a juice bar?” Renae commented; a question which often circled her brain in the process of creating her business. “One day I had this vision: a little trailer, my daughter and I wearing matching aprons, serving juice and smoothies at the market.” True to her nature, that is exactly what Renae did. Starting off as a single trailer serving the Red River Market and small pop-up events, Juice Box Fargo, started in 2019, has now expanded into a juice empire of Fargo. However, Renae’s vision was not without skepticism by family, friends, and business professionals alike; one friend going as far as to say there’s no use in starting a business on her own. Now a regular customer, Renae chuckles, “I proved him wrong.” Despite the heavy challenges brought forth by COVID-19, Juice Box Fargo has continued to grow, securing a storefront location in West Fargo all the while maintaining their trailer at the Red River Market.

Despite the many obstacles of new business ownership and “multiple meltdowns a week” trying to tirelessly grow her business, Renae laments that the unwavering support of the Fargo community has made all the work worthwhile: “I am not here to just sell juice. I am here to help people integrate this into their lifestyle, and to help them feel better.” Grounded in a philosophy of transparency, Juice Box Fargo’s offerings stem from a personal commitment to quality and health. Each bottle of juice echoes her own standards—organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and brimming with vital nutrients and soluble fibers. When asked what advice she'd offer to young female professionals, Renae's words mirror her own journey: “Believe in yourself, know your worth, and be your own cheerleader.” Her triumphs remind us that with grit and passion, even the toughest challenges can become steppingstones to a brighter future. In the face of doubt, Renae’s story stands as a testament to the power of resilience, innovation, and unwavering self-belief. [ aw ] For all your healthy food and drink fixes, be sure to check out Juice Box located in West Fargo and on weekends at the Red River Market in Downtown Fargo. Visit for more information.

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