For Gals by Gals: Holiday Edition

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Letter from the editor

Dear Friend, This magazine is a beautiful collaboration between the ladies that we currently have in our group. As we approach the Holiday Season, our hope is to share with you some tips & tricks, and stories. Where we still have a lot of room for growth and addition of diversity, I love the women we have represented here, and look forward to sharing them with you. I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I did. Have a lovely end of the year! Myhriah Young

We didn’t get enough submissions for a Holiday Colors article, but

I wanted to show off PattyLynn’s pretty Jamberry nails!!


My idea of Christmas, whether old-­‐fashioned or modern is very simple: Loving others.

-­‐Bob Hope


Table of Contents

Winter 2019


Letter from the Editor

By Myhriah Young




Magical Christmas Pictures

By Kika’s Photography


The Happy Holiday Gift-­‐Giving Guide & To Re-­‐gift or Not Re-­‐Gift

By PattyLynn Gossman

13 Stress-­‐Free Holiday Event

By Cara Kangas


18 Beautiful Surprise

By Myhriah Young

21 A Gift for the Hidden You: The Gorgeous, Smiling, Carefree, Kick-­‐Butt You

By Kathy Tarbell

25 Fall-­‐in-­‐Love Fridays

By Kandie King


Contributors: PattyLynn Gossman The Happy Holiday Gift Giving Guide To Re-­‐Gift or Not to Re-­‐Gift Kristina Shroeder Photos on pages: 6, 10, 24 Kika’s Photography Instagram: @kikasphoto Kandie King Model in Beautiful Surprise Fall-­‐In-­‐Love Fridays Cara Kangas Stress-­‐Free Holiday Event Kathy Tarbell A Gift for the Hidden You-­‐Article & Photos 503-­‐810-­‐3633


One of the greatest lessons we can learn from a child,

is to see the world through their eyes of “Wonder.”


The Happy Holiday Gift Giving Guide By PattyLynn Gossman I am a giver. I love to show affection with a thoughtful gift, which delights the receiver who emits “oohs and ahhhs,” and “this is perfect!” Oh the perfect gift! One they will enjoy and use. It seems to make their life more beautiful, easy and fun! Yes, it’s a lot of pressure, especially on a budget. One can have goals, right? Here are my three tips for being a giver of good gifts:


Tip #1 NOTICE Notice what is her style? Is there some special item which would compliment what she already has? What are her interests and hobbies. This is just more than buying her a sketch pad and art supplies. Notice what would make her day better or easier…? Such as a full spectrum lamp or that special set of pens.

Tip #2 LISTEN Usually people will tell you what they want and need in normal everyday conversation. I keep a note in my phone where I add (year long) every time I hear a friend remark “I’ve always wanted a …” (and they wonder aloud how I knew they wanted it.)

Tip #3 ASK Yes, just ask your person for suggestions. Even Santa needs a “wish list,” so have your kids write that ubiquitous letter to Santa.


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One Bonus Tip for Staying on budget… Tip #4 PREBUY Buy ahead items on sale and keep in a “gift box” in the garage. The box can hold those perfect finds safe and secret until Christmas, birthdays or whenever your might need a housewarming, hostess or thank you gift. Since you can buy items on sale, or clearance in advance, you will save some money. The “gift box” is not without it’s own set of perils however! Here are some perils with real-­‐life instances from my family!: *You can’t wait that long! My mom could never wait until Christmas or birthday, and although she bought it early, she also gave it early…then felt compelled to buy another gift for the special day. *You forget it’s in there! My sister had kids well into their teens and a gift box with birthday presents for kids ages 7-­‐ 10. They had out grown them. *You can forget who it’s for! This one’s on me! I have a super deluxe gel seat cushion I bought last year on Black 10 Friday but cannot for the life of me remember who it was for!!

The Holiday Season is a Perfect time to reflect on our blessings and to seek out ways to make life better

for those around us.


TO RE-­‐GIFT OR NOT TO RE-­‐GIFT By PattyLynn Gossman

That is the question! What about that tricky business of re-gifting? We’ve all received gifts that just aren’t quite right for us. It’s a lovely item (or a weird one). I’ll never use it. I already have it. It’s not my style. You get the picture. So should I re-gift the item? Giving someone a gift you’ve received can hurt the feelings of the original giver. But that doesn’t mean you are obligated to keep a gift just because it was given to you. You may graciously thank the giver. Then pass the gift along to someone else who can use it, or return to the store for the right size, color. Or even donate it to a resale shop.


But making it be a gift to someone else… you have to ask yourself some questions: Q: is it still new? I mean brand spanking new. Q: Is it appropriate (or purposeful) for this person? Not just off loading it. Q: Is it a quality item that I am proud to share? Q: Will the original giver be okay with this if she were to find out? If you answered YES to all of these questions you are probably okay with re-gifting. I say “probably” because it’s a tricky business.


Stress-free Holiday Event Planning By Cara Kangas

I’ve never enjoyed having a deadline for writing, however, a deadline for event planning: bring it on. When I first started thinking about what I might include in this article, I also thought of ways to carve out chunks of time at work to jot down ideas and themes. I suppose you could say I enjoy finding ways to flex my creative muscle to break up the day. With event planning, my first thoughts always drift toward the menu and seating. What new recipes can I try? What works well with a large group of picky eaters, or a small, intimate gathering of close friends, willing to tray all the things? How can I arrange the seating in a way that allows flow throughout our home without breaking up the festivities? And as a nod to a comment my Grandpa Ray used to make about my Grandma Violet’s cooking, “Did you wash the bathtub before preparing the macaroni salad inside of it?” With a one-income household of 7, food preparation was always large and inexpensive, and those marks I tend to keep in mind when preparing a meal for many. As for hosting a holiday event? Check! Events my spouse and I have hosted include: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, Memorial Day and 4th of July BBQs. Throw in a few birthday parties, baby showers and family soup nights and we’re pretty well versed in entertaining. But winter season, even as we carry on decades-long traditions with a new twist, there’s usually something that waits until the last minute, gets forgotten, or is skipped all together. I always want to enjoy this magical time to the best of my ability, especially now with young children who are experiencing holidays and family gatherings for the first time. But then again, I have to let go of the fear of missing out and not be the last person standing at the party. It’s okay to get home a bit early and reenergize for the next day. With that, here are a few tips and pieces of wisdom to pull off an event of any size this holiday season or any time of year and take care of yourself along the way.



• Practically perfect in every way… Nope! You’re not, I’m not, and neither is Mary Poppins. Your holiday season is most likely filled with work obligations, family gatherings, out-of-town travel, and one too many trips to the grocery store. Add on the task of hosting an event during the holiday season and you could have a recipe for unnecessary stress. In order to minimize any additional stress of this busy quarter of the calendar, jot d ow n w hich events a re im porta nt to you to atte nd, and with that, you may find events which you can let go.

For example, d o you

ha ve to st ay the le ng th of an en tire w ork pa rty? That may depend on your role and the culture of your workplace. D id you offe r to b rin g a d ish to a holida y p otluck ? Maybe you can share the task with another attendee. Whatever the event, prioritize importance, judge the amount of work it may add to your plate, and be okay with saying “no” now and again.


• Time is on your side… Do you have six weeks or six days? Given the amount of time and whether or not you’re hosting, be realistic about the size of the gathering, the amount of food needed to serve a crowd, and any other logistics concerning space, decorations, invitations, etc. In order to start planning an event, I often use a shared Google spreadsheet with check boxes, due dates, tasks, who’s in charge, what to do and what to buy. I can also rearrange items by priority and insert notes along the way. You can also easily share this with a buddy who can add his or her own feedback, comments, and suggestions. The best tactic is to start planning as soon as you can, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and give yourself some wiggle room for unforeseen matters.


• Are we having fun yet… I sincerely hope so! Like the kids these days are saying on the internet “If it’s not on Instagram, did it even happen?” This should go without saying, but you don’t need to document every moment of every event just to show the world you were there and it really happened. You can still have fun without being tethered to your phone. However, if your only camera is on your phone, take some photos and then set your phone down. Mingle, make small talk, and be present. This is the time to create m emories, enjoy the process, and not worry about being too precious or particular about the look of your event. With all honesty, I will say that I do miss 35mm film cameras. You usually only had 24-­‐36 exposures, so your one shot mattered… and before sending the film off to b e developed, the last remaining photos were usually taken of the family cats.

• Take care of yourself… If you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you’ll know that without a solid base of addressing your physiological needs (water, food and sleep), you won’t be able to meet your other needs as you move up the triangle (safety, love, esteem and self-­‐actualization). I find this to be true when anyone is facing stress or trauma; you can’t think well, articulate your thoughts, or listen as thoroughly as you’d like on an empty stomach, minimal sleep, or the other necessities that help you feel 100%. As it is always okay to say “no” to attending an event, it is also okay to say “no” when you need a little extra time to decompress.


Beautiful Surprise A Generational Empowerment Session

With this photo shoot, we set out to do a collaborative article on Holiday colors. However, after I got the results from our photographer (my hubby, pictured above), I feel like we ended up getting SO much more. What I saw in these pictures was joy, love, care, compassion and so much beauty. It m ade me think of that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I would take this further though-­‐it takes a village to raise a village. We need each other, and not just women. We need empower those around us to be the very b est we can be. That seems like such a simple statement, yet it’s so difficult to accomplish these days.


These pictures spoke to me of generations honoring each other. Plus, REAL beautiful women; not perfect, but beautifully imperfect, complex, and awe-­‐inspiring! I hope when you look through these, you see your neighbor, your grandma, the little girl down the street. There’s so much truth and authenticity here.


Happy Birthday It was also this sweet girl’s birthday!! What a fun way to get


A Gift for the Hidden YOU!

The Gorgeous, Smiling, Carefree, Kick-butt YOU!! It’s Saturday and I am at the elementary school. I have my 2 & 4-­‐year-­‐old in tow and am hoping that attending the small bazaar will allow me to get a few things crossed off my long list. I know they have wreaths for sale. A wreath is at the top of my list; I needed one a week ago. Every house on my street had full holiday decorations up; I hadn’t even started. At least I made a list! And here we are wandering the aisles. I have 15 seconds to stop at each booth and assess its wares. Then off to the next section; the distractions, whines and attempts at escape clearly prove that The Littles are in charge. A canvas of a beautiful young woman catches my eye. It’s on an easel and there happens to be another slightly different, and a little more revealing one on the table display as well. Gorgeous, smiling, carefree, confident-­‐looking; this girl takes names, kicks butt and has the world at her feet.


So, here’s the thing, I make sure to have pictures of the kids. You know, coordinating outfits and beautiful background so if they aren’t quite smiling or into it they look wonderful anyway. I try to use the same photographer. She knows to get ahold of me 2 to 3 times a year. The grandparents anxiously await the marvelous new images to show off to their friends and neighbors. My Social Media presence is weak and some days post likes & loves count. New, improved, updated and noteworthy pictures are a sure way to get them. They validate I am a good mom. Look at these amazing kids! What I don’t have are any pictures of me. Well, there are the obligatory selfies from our outing to the zoo last week, a coffee date with a friend and a rare date night image snapped with the waiter in the background. All on my phone. all showing a hot mess of a girl who really needs something. Cause she is fading, losing her confidence, her joy, her sexuality, her mojo. So, I move in closer scan the booth quickly to try and get a glimpse of what it’s all about. With one hand on the wreath I use the other to open a snack bag and take it all in. Beautiful lingerie, a leather-­‐bound album, photography awards proudly displayed, sign up sheet for more information and a casual classy lady pitching Boudoir.


A Boudoir shoot?! I can just imagine the absolute fun of shopping for something amazing to wear. Something different than my mom outfit of jeans and a cami, layered with my slouchy sweater and cute booties. An outfit that has lace is red and slinky. Something I would have worn before kids or would have dreamed of owning but never bought. Thoughts of thongs, bodysuits, luxurious bra and panty sets invade my mind. Then this lady, this photographer, tells me really quick, “You come to the studio. Your hair and makeup are professionally done. You are pampered and treated like a queen-­‐ wine, snacks, favorite music, no kids for hours! I capture you in images that help you to see that you’re the definition of beauty! They last a lifetime and provide you with everything you just attributed to the images on display: Gorgeous, smiling, carefree, sexy, daring, confident looking. So, you can have her, the girl that takes names, kicks butt and has the world at her feet as artwork or an album to display yourself.” I skip out of the bazaar with my wreath, some jelly, a huge juice stain down the front of my favorite sweater and a planning appointment date scheduled to chat all things Boudoir before my upcoming shoot.


“Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man’s ingratitude.” -­‐William Shakespeare




Fridays By Kandice King

With 2019 days away from being over, I can say that this year has completely changed my perspective on what matters and what is important in life. I am a single mother of two amazing children that have a gigantic age gap. There are nine years between the two, so finding things that my pocketbook can afford and that they are both interested in can feel impossible. Some days, it is impossible. At the beginning of this year we suffered an unexpected loss. My best friend of many years died abruptly, and this was a significant blow to me. The kids and I had just moved into our new place, I had just started a new job and a new quarter was starting in a week. If you can read between the lines, I was working fulltime, going to school and raising kids-­‐ alone. Did I mention it was basketball season? And, I was grieving. I laugh as I type this because it is amazing how God works. Over the years my friend and I had gone our own ways, but there was still that unspoken love and bond. Thankfully for me, I saw her a week or so before she died. Losing her reminded me of how very precious life is. I started to really think about just how busy I was. What exactly was I trying to accomplish? A good waged job that supported my kids and myself was always the answer. Maybe this was just a justification I had. Truly, I need a job with good benefits and pay, but I did not need to be so busy. In April I made the decision to put school on hold and the very next day I lost my job. Immediately I wanted to register for school, but something told me to hold back. My son was at the end of his junior year, was about to enter his last year of high school, and I needed a break. Fear was the first thing that waved over me, but when the school year ended, I found that I had time to hang out with my kids again. 27

I created for us a mandatory Friday adventures and dubbed them fall-­‐in-­‐love-­‐and-­‐find-­‐something-­‐new-­‐Fridays. Our lives are far from perfect, money is tight, both kids like to pick on each other, and neither of their fathers are present in ways the kids or even I would like them to be, but in these Friday adventures I found the love I was missing and all of us were able to relax a little bit. One week we’d head out east to Beacon Rock, the next week we were in Seaside taking in the ocean surf and feeling the absolute abundance life has for all of us. I’d pack snacks and drinks; we’d fill up the tank and usually decide where we were going once we piled in the car. There were fights, arguments over the radio and typical sibling stuff, but there were also moments of belly laughter, brother giving piggyback rides down mountainsides, and a mom with a full heart of gratitude. My favorite fall-­‐in-­‐love-­‐and-­‐find-­‐something-­‐new-­‐Friday wasn’t during the summer at all. My favorite Friday came on the first Friday we had no school. In an attempt to hamper the back-­‐to-­‐school blues, I challenged the kids to an adventure. Neither of them wanted to go too far from home, so we decided to go a little east and a little north. Once we left Daybreak Park, the eldest decided to drive. When we got past the Ape Caves we decided to keep going, and at every rest we took, we decided to keep going. We traveled through the woods, walked along a little river, and found snow on this “little” drive. Never quite knowing where we were going, we ended up driving the back-­‐way over Mount St. Helens into this little town and didn’t get home till after 10 pm. So much for a little trip only I wanted to go on!


I was so proud watching my son navigate the roads and seeing the excitement in my daughter’s eyes when her brother helped her over the little river. It was on that trip that I realized that whatever life threw at us, we could handle it. Nothing was bigger than our sense of wonder and amazement at all the universe has to give. Nothing is bigger than the love of family and falling in love with the life that surrounds us. Nothing is bigger than finding gratitude in the simplest of mini-­‐road trips. So remember, as the holidays are approaching, while it is easy to get wrapped up in the consumerism of this time of year, the best memories come from actively engaging and spending time with your loved ones. Here are a few pocket-­‐saving festive tips from our family:

Pile the kids in the car and go Christmas light hunting! Our family makes hot chocolate before we head out and we take off in a direction to find the BEST light display of the evening.

Bundle up and walk a trail! I have found that when I get out and walk a trail, the nature that surrounds our city is amazing and beautiful. No matter what the day has been, being out with the birds and the turtles helps me realize how unimportant my day has been in the grander scheme of life. Here is a map from City of Vancouver to help you on your journey; default/files/fileattachments/parks_an d_recreation/page/1088/trail_final_we b.pdf


Paint sugar cookies! One of my favorite things to do is eat cookies. I also like challenging my kids and myself to learn in “out-­‐of-­‐the-­‐box” ways. A simple painting cookie party involves basic science, engineering, production and event planning & execution skills. And, ART! These are all great things to introduce your children to while they are young.

Have a movie day at home. With a million different avenues at the tips of our fingers these days, sometimes what we really need is a pajama day, on the couch watching movies with our loved ones.

While the list above may feel short, I challenge you to do one new thing with your family before this year is over. Whether it is from this list or another, challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and try something you normally would not do. You never know, you may just find that you’re really good at something you never dreamed you would be good at. For me, I learned I was really good at eating the completed cookies.