Bellingham Alive | January | 2020

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Let’s talk about mental health. Health & Wellness Issue Health & Medical Profiles Where to Play Pickleball Em’s Herbals

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Entertainment IS OUR GAME!

Rodney Atkins Rob Schneider Arlo Guthrie The Midtown Men Dennis DeYoung Survivor Mavis Staples LeAnn Rimes Wynonna Emmylou Harris Aaron Neville The Marshall Tucker Band Killer Queen John Michael Montgomery Tower of Power Morgane Latouche Vanessa Williams Lonestar Don McLean Grand Funk Railroad Andy Gross The Commodores Pam Tillis Margaret Cho Leann Womack Pablo Fancisco

Lisa Alvardo Alex Raymundo

Charlie Musselwhite

Melissa Manchester

Heart By Heart

Helen Hong

Owen Benjamin Elton John Tribute Bret Michaels Crystal Gayle Sebastian Maniscalco The Supremes Glenn Miller Revolvers Beach Boys & Friends Johnny Rivers Herman’s Hermits Wilson Phillips Lee Greenwood New Years Eve Party Tony Orlando Doc Severinsen The Coasters Leon Russell 5th Dimension America Toni Tenille Spirit Of Ireland Neil Diamond Trace Adkins Three Dog Night Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Oak Ridge Boys Bill Engval Blood, Sweat & Tears Natalie Cole Michael Bolton


JAN 17 & 18

Dwight Yokam Keith Urban Leann Rimes Disco Mania Gladys Knight Righteous Brothers Patty Loveless Seattle International


Comedy Competition Ronnie Milsap Dave Mason Joe Diffie Gino Vannelli Joe Nichols Collin Raye The Smothers Brothers Tanya Tucker Australia’s Thunder From Down Under Josh Gracin Rita Coolidge Aaron Tippin Caroline Rhea Rita Rudner Restless Heart Black Hawk Little Texas Vikki Carr Men Of Las Vegas Debbie Reynolds The Letterman Christmas Show Vegas Pin-Ups Joan Rivers The Marshall Tucker Band Heartland Charo The Fab Four Judy Collin Vince Mira Abbacadabra Brenda Lee Larry Gatlin And The Gatlin Brothers Frankie Avalon Petula Clark Hotel California Bruce In The USA Phil Vasser Starship John Reep Dk Morgan

: Brenda Lee America’s Diamond Eddie Money Lorrie Morgan Chicago Tribute Fab Four Tribute Pam Tillis Sawyer Brown R Vince OMMira Bruce Hornsby The Turtles Neal Mckoy Ricky Neslon Tribute Little Anthony

SF T E K C I Richard Marx TLonestar Repp And Ferrara


Terri Clark

Rockoberfest Survivor Josh Gracin Garrett Wilkins & The Parrotheads Marlin James Henry Cho & Dat Phan Phil Vasser


KBRC Rocks The Skagit Manhattans Debby Boone KAFE Breakfast Club Blue Oyster Cult Tribute Buckaroo Blues Band Rat Pack Tribute Craig Morgan Nathan Anderson Darryl Worley Journey Tribute Mo Trouble Rich Little Blues Traveler Roy Clark Rock And Roll Heaven $5 Fine Jo Dee Mesina Southern Fried Chicks Foghat Broken Trail Delbert Mclinton Fabulous Thunderbirds Timothy Schmitt Super Diamond Smithereens KMPS Country Nights Diamond Rio Barb & Frank Leon Russell Paul Revere Jim Breur John Anderson Joan Osbourne Hells Belles Presidents Of The USA Rockabilly Romp Erick Burdon Gary Puckett Restless Heart Kiss Live Gin Blossoms Tom Papa Justin Shandor Ultimate Elvis Blue Sky Riders Zepparella BJ Thomas Colin Hay Peter Noone Rick Springfield The Nylons S. Earle & The Dukes John Conlee Mac King Air Supply Cash’d Out Micky Dolenz Jay White As Neil Diamond Christopher Titus

Burton Cummings

The English Beat

Marty Stuart

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Mental Health

Winter in Washington means gray skies, which can easily translate to gray moods. For some, it can even develop into full-fledged depression. If you’re one of these people, there’s good news: You’re definitely not alone. To help demystify and destigmatize the world of mental health, we spoke with local mental health professionals to learn more about six prominent disorders: generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, eating disorders, and the psychological effects of chronic pain, injury, and illness. In these pages, we examine symptoms, debunk myths, explore treatment options, and provide local and national resources for those in pain.




Wonder Woman  Trish Palmer: Living with MS


Book Notes  Reviews & Events


Community  Wildbird Charity


Out and About  Where to Play Pickleball


Necessities  Scarves


Local Find  The Lucky Dumpster


Spotlight  WWU Professor Pens Cookbook

86 Review Just Poke

FEATURE 44 Let’s Talk About Mental Health


Photos: Left by Jayden Welch. Center © Tyler Kendig. Upper right © Lindsey Major. Lower right © Katheryn Moran

20 Community Life Force Ninja Gym 22

Spotlight  Baby Cakes


Apps We Love


Heard Around the Sound Mount Vernon Pop-Up


Heard Around the Sound  WWU wins NASA Contract


Health & Medical Profiles


Sip  Thousand Acre Cider House


Cannabis Listings


8 Great Tastes


Five Faves  Acaí Bowls


Featured Home  Shaw Island Timber Frame

92 Mixing Tin  Winter Cardinal at Galloway’s


Top Picks


Local Events


Out of Town


Community  Bellingham Handmade


Savvy Shopper  Em’s Herbals

76 Local Find Good Earth Pottery 77

Remodel  Sorority Transformation


Necessities  Blankets


Culinary Events


Recipe  Spring Roll Bowls




Editor’s Letter




Letters to the Editor


Meet the Team


Review  Chuckanut Manor


The Scene  Festival of Trees


Dining Guide


Lasting Image

January 2020 3

Notes  What’s Online

INSTAGRAM Online Exclusive Four-Legged Fitness Hero This fall, you might have seen a viral video of an overweight cat named Cinderblock trying to (or rather trying not to) exercise on a treadmill. It’s no surprise this adorable cat became famous, but what might come as a surprise is that Cinderblock lives right here in Bellingham. Because this month’s feature focuses on health, we thought we’d check in with our very own local celebrity to see how her feline fitness goals are coming along. Check out to learn more.

@bellinghamalive welcomes baby Brooklyn to our family. This little angel will change our lives forever.

Owner Laura Norris purchased the Griffin Bay Bookstore, a staple in downtown Friday Harbor since 1979, as a way to preserve literary culture on the island.

EVENTS CALENDAR Be sure to check out our events calendar. If you have an event that you would like our readers to know about, offers an events calendar where viewers can search by day, venue, event type, or city. Go to and submit your event today. Once your event has been approved by our editorial staff, it is live.

BE IN THE KNOW Sign up for our free entertainment e-newsletter to get the latest on upcoming events and more!


@tonyscoffeehouse enjoying an almond milk good!

Notes  Editor’s Letter

Better Together



got married in my home state of Kansas. The ceremony started with familiar territory — funny stories about the couple mixed with wise passages from literature — but then the officiant, a friend of the bride and groom, paused his speech and looked out at us, the audience. “This is that part of the wedding when I want to ask everyone here to really pay attention,” he said. “This is your part.” Everyone perked up in their seat as he reminded us that a marriage is not just about the two people involved. There are larger forces, he explained — social, cultural, political — that affect every relationship no matter who you are or where you live. That although marriage is a private bond between two people, it is also a public commitment that can wither or thrive depending on community support. “Do you,” he eventually asked us, “as friends and family of the bride and groom, agree to support them through sickness and health? Through richness and poverty? Through good times and bad?” After a brief pause, we collectively chanted, “We do!” After the wedding, I told a few friends about this ritual, and they reported experiencing the same thing at ceremonies they’d been to recently. Despite some initial hesitation I felt at the wedding — How could I help my friends in any meaningful way when I live in a different state? —  I came to feel a deep sense of appreciation for this trend, which acknowledges the importance of community not just in our social lives, but in our private ones as well. A trend that asks us not only to give help, but to also seek and accept it. At the end of the day, none of us live on an island (at least not a metaphorical one — I see you, San Juan County readers), or in a vacuum. We rely on one another in so many areas, so why do we section off some parts of our lives and declare them as absolutely private, even out of reach of our friends and family? If marriage could use a boost from community support, why not other areas of our lives? Why not, for instance, mental health?

For a long time, our country has treated mental illness as a taboo, much like it used to divorce — a deviation from what we think of as healthy or normal, a failure of will. To this day, in some communities, to speak of mental illness publicly is to admit to something shameful. As you’ll find in our feature this month, the main advice from many mental health professionals is to not isolate, but instead reach out to friends, family, and coworkers; to share your feelings so that you are not alone in whatever you’re experiencing. Conversely, if you see someone in your life suffering, don’t ignore it. Reach out to them. Ask questions. Listen. I hope that this trend, toward inviting our communities into traditionally private arenas, seeps into other aspects of our culture. Not so our friends and family can tell us what to do or not do, but so we can ask for their support when we need it and might otherwise have none. Nobody should feel alone, whether in a struggling marriage, an ailing body, or a mental illness.



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Notes  Contributors

Dave Brogan From elaborate blanket forts to high-performance homes, Dave has enjoyed the process of building spaces to inhabit since he was a kid. His love of building and the natural world led him to start Bellingham Bay Builders (BBB), a workers’ cooperative focused on sustainable construction. After a busy work season at BBB, and with time for relaxation, you will find Dave outside with friends and family.  p. 74

Tanna Edler Tanna Edler, principal of Tanna By Design, is the only interior designer in Yakima and the state of Washington to have won an Interior Design Society’s Designer of the Year award for five consecutive years. She is also the first in the Pacific Northwest to have received the coveted Impact Award for charitable interior design contributions in her community. Her notable skill in conceptual design development has earned her a wellrespected reputation across the nation and her work has been recognized during numerous Tour of Home venues.  p. 77

Mary Kinser Growing up in Washington, Mary learned early on that rainy days provided the perfect excuse to curl up with a good story. Mary is now a collection development librarian for Whatcom County Library System, where she gets to spend her days spreading the joy of reading. In her free time, she enjoys travel, board games, long walks, and baking delicious treats. She and her husband share their home with one son, one cat, and far too many books.  p. 17

Whether a medical need or a fashion statement, We have a beautiful Wig just for you! 1225 East Sunset Drive, Suite 150 Bellingham, WA 98226 360.738.0359

Open to the Public! 8

Sara Southerland Sara Southerland is a Certified Integrative Nutrition health coach, a giddy cook, and mealplanning boss lady. With her business, Future Self Health, she uses a holistic approach to support individuals in transforming their relationship with food and regaining their health and vitality. Find more recipes and food-spiration on Instagram @futureselfhealth.  p. 94

Sit back, relax and we will take care of the rest. Pamper yourself today! 1400 RIVERSIDE DR., STE. A., MT VERNON 360.899.5105 MONDAY–SATURDAY 10AM–6PM 360.899.5105



Bellingham Alive NSL Guestbook Couture Weddings MENU Seattle


ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Kristy Gessner | Mia Sperandeo



CONTRIBUTORS Chericka Ashmann | Dave Brogan Don Davidson | Tanna Edler Tamara Harrison | Maureen Kane Mary Kinser | Emily Smith Samantha Smith | Sara Southerland R. Chris Turner

EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Tyler Kendig | Anelyse Morris Mysti Willmon


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Letters to the Editor Notes

Warm Winter Wears Holiday Happenings & Shopping Guide

I LOVE the magazine — it is always great. I really like the shopping guide… it had a cute place in Lynden that I want to peruse. And I can’t wait to try the pear martini in Fairhaven. I think the magazine does a great job of featuring relevant information, and a wide range of topics and businesses.

While reading December’s issue, I was struck by the Green from Green article. I’ve often wondered how the money raised from marijuana taxes is being used. It was nice to find the info in your magazine. Well done!  — Miriam C., Birch Bay

Where to Sauna Bellingham Burger Roundup

— Becky A.C., Bellingham


Bellingham Alive welcomes comments and feedback for our Letters to the Editor section. We’d love to hear what you have to say and are open to story ideas about the people, places, and happenings in the North Sound (Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan counties). Let us know what you like, and what you’d like to see in the magazine! Contact our editor at

I loved the fashion feature about sweaters!

I just love the magazine, it’s fantastic. And not just for Bellingham, but all our neighboring counties, too. Keep up the good work.

— Genevieve P., Fairbanks, AK

— Patrice C., Bellingham

Donate to Charity. Save on Stressless® Now through January 20th at Samuel’s Furniture donate $50 to charity and you’ll SAVE up to $400 off Stressless Mayfair Recliners or $200 off any Stressless seating. See store for complete details 1904 MAIN ST. FERNDALE, WA 98248 • 360.384.3388 SAMUELSFURNITURE.COM

January 2020 11

Notes  Meet the Team

To reflect on the year behind us, a few of us here at K & L Media wrote about the most fun thing we worked on in 2019.

Jenn Bachtel, Office Manager I always enjoy contributing to the editorial side of things. It’s nice to change up your everyday with something different you never expected to do. Since I am about to be married this January, I’d have to say my favorite story was the alluring alters piece I wrote for our Couture Weddings Magazine. It’s always so awesome to send in words on paper and have them transformed into elegant beauty in our art room! We have such a talented staff here at the magazine and it’s a fun opportunity to try different things. I love that about Bellingham Alive!

Mariah Currey, Graphic Designer The thing I had the most fun designing in 2019 was August’s food truck feature. The images and copy were great inspiration to work with, and I was really proud of the published design. And I also got to learn about all the tasty food trucks in our community, which was a delight!

Dean Davidson, Art Director For the August story on Tiny Onion Cooking School, my son and I went to a class so I could take photos and he could participate. When the issue came out, I showed him his picture in the magazine. Now when he helps makes food at home, he asks if I can put a photo of it in the magazine.

Lindsey Major, Editorial Coordinator My favorite project from 2019 was the April travel feature. In addition to researching and writing my own pieces, I also coordinated the photographs for the whole thing. I got to speak with tourism bureaus, chambers of commerce, and other tourist resources. It was like planning the ultimate vacation.

Becky Mandelbaum, Editor-in-Chief September’s feature on overnight winery vacations was so fun to write. Meeting passionate winemakers (and sampling their wine…) was a highlight, but it was also great to explore new parts of Washington. This was also my first feature for the magazine, so it was really cool to watch our talented design team transform paragraphs of text into a visually stunning feature. 


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Pickleball for the People 19 Life Force Ninja Gym 20

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Power Up Your Workout 25

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22 January 2020 15

Life  Wonder Woman

Living with MS: Q&A with Trish Palmer BY BECKY MANDELBAUM


RISH PALMER was hardly 30 years old when she

was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite the disease, she continues to thrive as a traveling nurse based in Seattle. In her free time — when she’s not working or navigating the world of online dating — she enjoys traveling, hiking, and educating others about MS. She hopes to empower others living with MS in the Pacific Northwest to find a treatment plan that suits their lifestyle.

What was your life like before your diagnosis? My life was pretty normal! I was working as a nurse and living in Columbus, Ohio.

What were your early symptoms?

What does your treatment plan look like? Every six months I return home to Columbus for an infusion. It takes about six hours, and I use the time I’m in town to visit with friends and family. The medication I take is called Ocrevus, and I have some lab tests and the occasional MRI to check for new MS lesions. So far, things have gone well. I’ve been on Ocrevus since August 2017 and since then, I’ve been free of relapses.

How has your life changed since your diagnosis? I can’t say in what ways my life would have been different, but I’ve had some challenging moments since I was diagnosed. From the death of my estranged father and a traumatic breakup to a cross-country move for a job I’d always wanted, I’ve experienced a lot since 2013. I think I’ve handled it relatively well, and I try not to let the diagnosis get me down.

What has your experience been like living with MS as a millennial? Between dating, jobs, and new friendships, I’ve been navigating MS through some crucial parts of my life. Online dating is bewildering enough, let alone complicated by a chronic illness. It’s one of those things that isn’t an issue until suddenly, it is. You know you have trouble swallowing, but you’re on a date and you don’t want to ask for a straw 16

with your beer… next thing you know, you’re choking and coughing because it went down the wrong way — do you explain or just laugh it off? It’s one of the little things, but it’s happened more than once. I’m fortunate to work in healthcare, where discussing your health is probably more common than in other jobs.

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your journey? The most rewarding part of my journey with MS has been the people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve made along the way. They’re people I’m lucky to know, even if we met because of an unlucky situation.

What would you like to tell readers who have MS or know someone who does? “No” is a complete sentence. It’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to sleep in if you can, it’s okay to not feel like being social. It’s also okay to be a social butterfly and say yes to adventures. Everyone with MS is having a completely different and personal experience. Personally, I love when someone says, “I can’t even tell you have MS” or “But you look great!” However, not everyone wants to hear that. Many of the symptoms of MS are “invisible,” like fatigue, sensory issues, and pain.

What do you wish more people knew about MS? The MS that affected your grandmother or uncle isn’t necessarily the same as it is today! There are treatments and adaptations that make living well with MS more possible than ever. It is important for people with MS to be proactive in managing their disease and to talk with their healthcare provider about treatment options that fit their needs and lifestyle. 

Photo © Trish Palmer

Numbness and tingling were the unsettling sensations that I first experienced in November 2013, shortly after I turned 30. I woke up one morning with the feeling of pins and needles on the right side of my body. It was so strange, but I assumed I had just slept in a weird position. The sensation worsened over the next three days into what felt like bees buzzing under my skin, along with difficulty walking and near-deafness in my right ear.

Book Notes Life

Book Reviews

Literary Events


January 11, 7 P.M. AFTER WATCHING a film about primatologist Jane Goodall,

Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream by Carson Vaughan

Nebraska native Dick Haskin envisioned his future clearly: He too would journey to Africa to work with great apes. His vision was realized when Dian Fossey invited him to join her team in Rwanda, but that opportunity dried up with Fossey’s murder in 1985. Though he hated zoos, Haskin leaped at the chance to open a primate research center in the tiny town of Royal, eventually expanding to house other exotic animals. The dream quickly turned into a nightmare, however, with funding shortages, staff turnover, and small-town politics driving Haskin to a state of burnout. With that, the zoo began to slide into chaos, culminating dramatically when the chimps escaped and rampaged through the town. Author Vaughan handles a complicated story deftly and with compassion for both animals and humans, providing a highly readable account of good intentions turned to tragedy. GEORGE TAKEI is perhaps best known for his iconic role as

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott; and Harmony Becker

Sulu on “Star Trek.” In this emotional graphic novel, readers learn the story of Takei’s childhood, specifically his years in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Beginning with Pearl Harbor, Takei traces his family’s experiences as they are stripped of their rights and forced to relocate from their California home to a camp in Arkansas. Though his parents shielded their three young children as much as they could, the injustice took its toll, particularly as the Takei family was presented with a number of impossible choices. Balancing his own recollections with the legislative history that led to internment, Takei also flashes forward to show how life in the camp shaped his worldview. Beautifully rendered, the book serves as a powerful reminder of the need to revisit history, lest we forget.

Richard Rapport, Seattle Medic One: How We Don't Die

Village Books, 1200 11th St., Bellingham, 360.671.2626,

Seattle implemented one of the country’s first prehospital coronary care systems in 1968. Since then, one can’t imagine an ambulance without a defibrillator. Come talk to Dr. Rapport about his book, which chronicles this influential point in medical history.

January 22-25, 10 A.M. Friends of the Library Winter Book Sale Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave., Bellingham, 360.778.7250,

Book it to the library this winter season and pick up some used goodies from the Friends of the Library. There will be numerous books, movies, and CDs to fill your shelves, with many items priced at $1 or less.

Health and Nutrition Myths Myth: Low-fat versions are healthier than the high-fat originals. Fat actually helps our body stay healthy and function properly. Our bodies get the nutrients they need because fat helps absorb them into our system. Plus, people who use low-fat versions are more likely to consume more sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Myth: Special glasses can help prevent the harmful effects of screens. Light-blocking glasses may help you fall asleep sooner by decreasing light rays, but the glasses will not protect you from eye strain. Spending time away from your screen or even enlarging the text will yield better results.

Myth: Some people can get by on five hours of sleep or less. A recent study conducted by the NYU School of Medicine found otherwise. According to researchers, not only do people need a consistent sleep schedule with at least seven hours of sleep, but long-term sleep deficits could pose a serious risk to health.

Myth: Fish oil reduces the risk of heart disease. While the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil do lower levels of triglycerides, which are connected to an increased risk of heart disease, a study with 12,500 participants at risk for heart trouble found that daily omega-3 supplements did not protect against heart disease. MYSTI WILLMON

January 2020 17

Life  Community

Two Birds, One Stone



the flock in Whatcom County outreach since 2016. Founded by a group of college friends, Wildbird aims to ease the daily struggles of communities in need, while also raising awareness. “We can’t help everybody,” executive director and administrator Phill Esau says. “But we can do what we can do, and hopefully make sure fewer children are coming to school hungry on Monday mornings.” Esau is referring to Wildbird’s Starfish Pack USA, a schoolaffiliated initiative where, each week, a handful of volunteers prepare 173 nutritious lunch bags for children in need. As a former school principal, Esau says he is dedicated to taking care of the physical, mental, and emotional needs of children. Wildbird is run primarily through volunteers, with financial contributions from interlinked local businesses, including the new Wildbird Treasure Nest Boutique in Blaine. Nestled at the end of Peace Portal Drive, the boutique sells donated items at low prices — with profits going towards outreach.

“We’re not just interested in making money,” Esau says. “We’re interested in focusing on solving some of the poverty issues in this county.” The boutique features a wide variety of products, from discount designer dresses to affordable jewelry and home decor items. Store manager Andrea Skorka works to collect, clean, and prep donations for sale, all while coordinating outreach. Much of that outreach involves distributing care essentials. Skorka and other Wildbird volunteers prepare weekly bags for people experiencing homelessness. Each bag comes with essential products like dental hygiene supplies, shaving cream, antibiotics, deodorant, and tampons. “It’s just been a real heartfelt thing, knowing that I worked hard all week and this is the outcome of hard work — it’s a labor of love,” Skorka says. Wildbird continues striving to help the people of Whatcom County, from large cooperative initiatives like the backpack and outreach programs to smaller projects like transportation or food assistance. The organization will soon add Skunky’s, a junk collection service, to their list of donation collectors. 674 Peace Portal Dr., Blaine, 360.224.3527, 


Photos by Mysti Willmon


Out and About Life

Pickleball for the People BY TYLER KENDIG



former correspondent Mark Potter called pickleball one of the fastest-growing sports in America. “If the pickleball craze has not yet hit your town — stand by. It’s on its way,” he said. At that point, more than 150,000 players had taken up the sport worldwide. Six years later, the number has grown to more than 3 million, and, if you live in Western Washington, it’s safe to say the pickleball craze has hit your town as well. Pickleball was invented around 1965 on Bainbridge Island. Although the sport’s etymology is highly contested among enthusiasts, it’s rumored to have been named after the creator’s dog, Pickles. It wasn’t until recently that the sport took off, particularly among older generations, due to its relatively low physicality. In 2013, the sport was even added to the National Senior Games — the first new addition in 20 years. That said, it’s a great game for anyone, regardless of age. Today, you’ll find pickleball courts located anywhere from elementary schools to country clubs — even, according to one USA Today article, some maximum-security prisons.

So, what is pickleball? The game combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. In fact, another popular theory claims pickleball was named after the “pickle boat” in rowing, which combines oarsmen from leftover boats — the same way pickleball blends various games. Like in ping-pong, pickleball players use paddles to lob a wiffle ball back and forth over a net. Although singles games are an option, most games feature two players to a side, creating a social element to the sport as well. If you’re looking for a new activity to keep you moving this winter, consider pickleball. You’ll be surprised by how many courts you’ll find in the area, including these popular locations:

Bellingham Whatcom Family YMCA:

Four outdoor courts. Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. Free. 1717 S. 13th St., Mount Vernon, 360.336.6215,

Ferndale Whatcom Family YMCA: Two indoor courts. Lessons available. Membership or daily use fee. 5610 Barrett Rd., Ferndale, 360.380.4911,

Semiahmoo Resort: Four indoor courts. Scheduled times. Beginners clinics on request. $10; free for members and guests. 9565 Semiahmoo Pkwy., Blaine,360.318.2000,

Skagit Valley Family YMCA: Four indoor courts. Lessons available. Membership or daily use fee. 1901

Two indoor courts. Lessons available. Membership or daily use fee. 1256 N. State St., Bellingham, 360.733.8630,

Hoag Rd., Mount Vernon, 360.336.9622,

South Whidbey Community Center:

Cornwall Park: Six dedicated outdoor courts (more if using portable nets). Free. 3424 Meridian St., Bellingham, 360.778.7000,

Hillcrest Park:

Up to five courts. Meets Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. $6 per day. 723 Camano Ave., Langley, 360.221.5484, 

January 2020 19

Life  Community

Play Hard, Get Fit at Life Force Ninja Gym



have an idea what goes on at Life Force Ninja Gym. On any given day, you might catch someone swinging from trapeze bars, walking on a log filled with liquid, or running full-speed up a warp wall. The 6,000-square-foot gym boasts 35 unique obstacles, each of which tests a particular skill or strength. To keep things exciting, new challenges appear every week or so. Life Force co-owners Becca Margulies and Jadyn Welch fell in love with ninja as a way to get fit while having fun. Unfortunately, the closest gym with obstacles was in Canada. Rather than wait for a solution, they


decided to create their own; Life Force opened this past September. The Cordata building is big and bright, with high ceilings perfect for the jungle of neon-green equipment. The gym is organized into five lanes of obstacles, going from least challenging to most challenging. Unlike on the TV show, you can focus on one challenge at a time or create your own unique path across the gym. Margulies and Welch designed the floor plan themselves, working with a Maryland-based company that builds play equipment for activity parks. Margulies and Welch also built a number of their own obstacles, including a pair of giant fidget spinners.

“It’s probably the most interesting and dynamic kind of gym workout you’re going to find anywhere around here. Nobody else has anything like this,” Welch says. Just looking at the obstacles, it’s hard to disagree. Although ninja might seem like an intimidating sport, Life Force strives for inclusivity, welcoming people of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels. “It doesn’t really matter what level you’re at when you come in, if you have injuries, we can work with that,” Margulies says. In addition to open gym hours, Life Force hosts birthday parties and offers classes and private training sessions. You can sign up for Intro to Obstacle Course, a 45-minute class that breaks

Photo by Jadyn Welch





Historic Hospitality Urban Renewal 100 5th Street, Lynden, WA


Urban Renewal down each challenge, or opt for an eight-week curriculum course. In these courses, designed for both kids and adults, athletes can level-up to different colored bands, similar to the belt system in karate. “You don’t have to be a mega superstar ninja to have fun here,” Welch says. “We want it to be approachable, and we want everyone to feel welcome and like they can succeed here.” That said, serious ninjas also have opportunities for competition. This winter, on January 4–5, the gym will host its first official competition, the National Ninja League Worlds Qualifier. The top three athletes in each of seven age groups will advance to the World Championship in North Carolina in February. Although space is limited, this competition and future ones like it will be open to the public. 440 W. Horton Rd., Bellingham, 360.738.4724, 

Life  Spotlight

Baby Cakes Corners the Bellingham Funk Scene


T’S HALLOWEEN NIGHT at the Wild Buffalo, and

the crowd is abuzz with anticipation. Fake spider webs stretch over a sea of vampires, construction workers, and ghosts. A man in a dinosaur costume shakes hands with Baby Cakes’ guitarist and vocalist, Miles Harris, who is dressed in purple as Prince. The group steps into their first song, “Kick It Right,” a new track they haven’t yet recorded. Harris, backed by two vocalists, is a natural showman. Drummer Kevin Chryst, who’s decked out in ‘80s athletic wear, muscles through the beat — this is funk, after all — while a horn trio lets loose in unison. The bassist and keyboardist add heft to the rhythm section and fill out the sound. The band shifts seamlessly between their own work and covers of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and Madonna’s “Into the Groove.” “People love Halloween in Bellingham,” vocalist Stephanie Walbon says. “Everyone’s there to have a good time … and they do it like it’s their job.” The day after the concert, I sat down with Walbon, Harris, and Chryst at Chryst’s home in Bellingham. 22

Though Baby Cakes is a nine-piece band (a nonet, for the music majors out there) the trio sitting across from me handles the bulk of the songwriting duties — though everyone has a say in the final product. Baby Cakes was originally conceived as a five-piece band in 2014, when Chryst scrambled together a handful of musicians for a New Year’s Eve show at Chair 9, a restaurant in Glacier where Walbon worked at the time. “I basically just handpicked this crew of slaying players,” Chryst says. “We pulled it off and kind of snowballed from there.” The group started off playing covers but transitioned to original music a couple years ago. By now they’ve played most of Bellingham’s local venues, as well as Seattle nightclubs, fundraisers, birthday parties, a memorial service, and lots and lots of weddings — everywhere from elite resorts to down-in-the-dirt campgrounds, Chryst says. Thanks to their work ethic, they’ve placed in Bellingham Alive’s Best of the Northwest competition for Best Local Band/Performer three times.

Photo courtesy Baby Cakes


“We kind of fell into this wonderful, exciting vibe together, where we’re like, cutting our teeth as a crew together, not really knowing where we’re going, but knowing that we were making some magic happen,” Chryst says. They released their debut, self-titled album — a raucous celebration of funk and soul history — in 2018. Nearly every song blazes with the sound of a band at the top of their form, but most surprising is the record closer, a haunting cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” The track opens with a lumbering, two-note bassline, soft horns, and an echoing drumbeat —  like a reggae song played in half-time. Walbon and vocalist Kendall Lujan trade smoky vocals before Harris joins the chorus and the three harmonize. By the end, the rest of the band has

This is magic. I can’t not do this with these people.” Outside of Baby Cakes, much of the band teaches privately, volunteers, or collaborates with business owners to keep Bellingham’s music scene alive. The band even played fundraisers for middle school music programs. Walbon says she wants to provide fertile soil for other bands to grow. The group is fond of events like Bellingham’s Downtown Sounds, and hopes the local government continues to support the arts. “In this wild, wild world that we’re in, I think creativity in the arts is something we can all get behind,” Chryst says, adding that people vote with their dollar when they support local music and venues. “We need to step up and be a part of that continuing support.”

Because this is the best feeling I've ever had making music with people in my professional life. This is magic. I can't not do this with these people.

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Miles Harris, Baby Cakes guitarist and vocalist

joined in for a hair-raising finale. It’s a moment of staggering emotion on an album otherwise intent on getting listeners out of their seats. “That’s always been tradition in music, to cover and reinterpret something that you hold in such high regard,” Chryst says. “And so Fleetwood Mac, certainly, is one of those artists for us.” Covers were what first sparked Harris’s imagination when he came on board as a sub, a couple years after the band formed. When he was young, he and his sister would listen to Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Greatest Hits” on a beat-up Walkman, so when he got a chance to play those songs live it was like a dream come true, he says. “I knew in that moment, I remember I was like, ‘I have to be in this band,’” Harris says. “Because this is the best feeling I’ve ever had making music with people in my professional life.

Despite their relative success, the band remains measured when it comes to leaving their Bellingham roots or otherwise trying to “make it big.” Walbon, like a handful of her bandmates, has a partner and a small child, so she’s wary of touring just for the sake of it. “I wouldn’t know until I was in certain situations whether I’d be willing to do them or not, as far as my family is concerned,” Walbon says. “But at the same time, this has always been what I wanted and I would like to push it as far as we can take it.” Still, she adds, being able to sustain yourself through music (emotionally, not financially) is often more difficult in a relatively small town. “There’s something to be said about not compromising what you stand for, and Baby Cakes definitely won’t do that,” Harris says. “Nobody puts Baby Cakes in a corner.” 

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January 2020 23

Life  Heard Around the Sound

The Pop-Up: Mount Vernon’s New Business Incubator


HEN A 500-SQUARE-FOOT STOREFRONT OPENED on the Lincoln Theatre block, Ellen

Gamson, the director of the Mount Vernon Downtown Association, thought it’d be the perfect location for a pop-up business. Inspired to give budding entrepreneurs a valuable resource, the association partnered with the City of Mount Vernon for the retail space and, with the help of Main Street Tax Credit Contributors, established The Pop-Up. “We are very excited about The Pop-Up and giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to test and refine their business,” Gamson says. “Our goal is to help them figure out how their business model might work without a lot of upfront costs.” Businesses may choose to rent the space from 30 days up to 120, which provides ample time to gain insights and

What Is Your New Year’s Resolution? BY TYLER KENDIG


skills into running a storefront without signing a costly long-term lease. In 2019, The Pop-Up had two tenants. The first was fiber artist Amanda McLaurin. The second was Chippy Cottage Co., a handmade custom decor company owned by mother and daughter team Carrie Heinrich and Keilie Heath. “This has been a great opportunity for us to showcase some of the crafts and decor we make, including custommade items and our hands-on workshops,” Heinrich says. “With this model, we’ve been able to see if a retail space will work for our business.” This month, a new tenant takes the helm. To learn more and apply, contact the Mount Vernon Downtown Association at 360.336.3801. 325 W. Kincaid St., Mount Vernon LARA DUNNING

Jessica K. To save money so I can move out of my apartment and buy a house.

Hannah W. I have three. I want to manage my money better. I want to focus on staying healthy: mentally, physically, and emotionally. And to put myself first and be happy.

What Are Some Tips for Safe Winter Driving? Keep supplies in your car. Road conditions in cold weather can be unpredictable, so prepare for the worst by packing food, water, a flashlight, blankets, and extra clothes. Kitty litter and cardboard (to wedge under your tires) may also come in handy if you find yourself stuck in snow or ice. Both can help you gain traction. •• Before hitting the road, make sure to clear all snow and ice from your vehicle, including all sensors, lights, and turn signals. Make sure you can see clearly out of all windows. •• Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Pushing on the gas pedal too fast could cause the car to lose traction. Start breaking before you normally would in order to ensure a safe stop. •• Do not use cruise control. Snowy and icy weather can cause cars to slip on the road, requiring the full attention and control of the driver at all times. •• The best way to avoid the dangerous roads during winter weather is to stay home. If you don’t feel safe driving, listen to your instincts and stay put if you can. If you are new to winter driving, practice on side roads before heading out onto the main roads. ••

Western Shoots for the Stars


HIS FALL, NASA awarded a $302,000 contract to Western Washington University faculty and First Mode, a Seattle-based manufacturing company. “The project has been in the works for about three years,” Melissa Rice, associate professor of geology, says. The contract is to build a goniometer, a piece of equipment that will allow researchers to view images from different angles. These improved images will help Mars rover teams gain a better understanding of the surface of the red planet. “We know that rocks can look shinier or have different colors when they are lit from different angles, and we want to know why,” Rice says. “Ultimately, when a Mars rover sees similar changes in rock surfaces on Mars, we’ll know what it is about the rock itself that is causing it — and that can help us understand the history of that rock, and whether it has interacted with lots of water.” People working on the project include Rice, Mike Kraft of the Scientific Technical Services department, and Sean Mulcahy, assistant professor of geology. While the contract brings a significant sum of money to campus, it also comes with even more peripheral advantages. “This NASA contract means that Western will have state-of-the-art new equipment for a planetary spectroscopy laboratory,” Rice says. “There is funding for us to hire a new graduate student and several summer interns over the next three years. Once the contract is finished, the goniometer itself will stay at Western and can be used for many, many more future research projects.” MYSTI WILLMON

Chrissy S. My New Year’s resolution, honestly, is not to have one. I try to make changes in my life when they arise, not just because it’s a new year.


Power Up Your Workout



in Bellingham has installed electricitygenerating equipment as part of their remodel. Five spin bicycles, one elliptical, and two treadmills from SportsArt — a manufacturer based in Mukilteo — will generate more than 4,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a year. This could reduce the output of carbon dioxide by more than two metric tons. According to the gym’s vice president, Zac Palmer, people working out on these machines can track how much electricity they generate over the course of a day, week, or month. They can also see how much power the building creates as a whole. MYSTI WILLMON

Beronica M. I want to go on more trips because life is short and it would be fun to go on some more.

Nancy B. To look at all the positives and move forward with a positive attitude. There’s beauty in every day, there’s good in every person, and there’s opportunity in everything that happens to you.

January 2020 25

Life  Special Advertising

10 Ways To Add More Joy To Your Life


enry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, “Into each life some rain must fall.” If you sometimes feel like your life is one downpour after another, it’s time to find some joy. And it’s easier than you might think. Being joyful has the power to help you bounce back from stressful events, solve problems, think flexibly and even fend off diseases.

So without further ado, here are 10 simple ways to make your days brighter: 1. Do something you loved as a kid. Sing silly songs, splash in puddles or see how high you can swing. 2. Laugh at life’s hassles. No day is perfect. But there’s often something at least a bit amusing in challenging situations if you look for it.

5. Go for it. Stop putting experiences you want to try on hold. Bake a pie from scratch, learn to crochet or sign up for an indoor climbing class — explore what intrigues you. 6. Take a nature break. Look up at the sky, and see how blue it really is. Go on an early-morning walk, and delight in the dew on the grass. Let nature’s beauty soothe you. 7. Take a mental break. Close your eyes and imagine a place you love. Use all your senses. Are you drawn to the beach? Smell the salt water, feel the sun on your back and hear the crashing waves. 8. Spread happiness. When you get good news, don’t keep it to yourself — tell a friend. You’ll relive the moment and have the extra pleasure of your friend’s reaction. 9. Seek out happy people. Good moods are contagious.

3. Collect sayings or photos that make you smile Then stick them where they’re visible — on your refrigerator or at your desk, for instance — to look at when you need a pick-me-up. 4. Play a song you love. Imaging tests of brains show that music can release feel-good hormones.


10. Develop your playful side. Joke with strangers in line, arrange nights out with friends or have a regular game night with your family.  For more healthy living tips, visit

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Photo Š Mount Baker Theatre

Top Picks

Bellingham Folk Festival

30 January 2020 29

Life  Top Picks


Come watch this Disney classic turned Broadway show presented by the Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth. Local youth ages 3-17 will perform all your favorite characters from Belle to the Beast. Chip should be cuter than ever in this adaptation. Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, 1059 N. State St., Bellingham, 360.306.8531,


1207 Ellsworth St., Bellingham,


If you’re into getting in Trouble, don’t be Sorry! Check out this annual board game convention. Bring your favorite tabletop or card game, meet fellow board game lovers, try out new titles, and play to your heart’s content. From chess to Candyland, there’s endless fun to be had at this local event. Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave., Bellingham,


JANUARY 19, 8 A.M.

Take a trek through the Skagit River lowlands in these 5K, 10K, and halfmarathon races. Walk or run through a scenic route to Clear Lake before returning to Mount Vernon. Celebrate finishing the race with a bowl of hot soup and a warm shower. Skagit Valley College, 2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon,

JANUARY 18, 8:30 A.M.

Presented by the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, this 22nd annual event centers on the theme “Tomorrow is Today — The Fierce Urgency of Now” — lines pulled from two of MLK’s most famous speeches. The conference, which is open to everyone, intends to build bridges and call out injustice in the world. Whatcom Community College Syre Student Center, 235 W. Kellogg Rd., Bellingham, 360.389.3898,




Let there be light! Join the Skagit Watershed Council in a celebration of the Skagit ecosystem, art, community, and health at this sixth annual walk. Start your afternoon with free paper bag “In-the-Moment” luminary decorating at Tri Dee Arts. Afterwards, enjoy live music at Riverwalk Park Plaza, and finish the night with a procession before the mile walk. 215 S. First St., Mount Vernon, 360.336.6131,

Photos: Left © Kenneth Kearney. Right © Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

If you’re looking for a fingerpickin’ good time, check out this celebration of folk music in Bellingham. Three days of festivities will be packed with workshops, performances, dances, and jams for players of any skill level. The festival will include classes from instructors like Devin Champlin from Bellingham’s Champlin guitars, North Carolina fiddler Andrew Finn Magill, and Danish fiddler Maja Kjær Jacobsen. Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship,

Events Life




Introduce your kids — or yourself — to the world of classical music at this family concert. Meet and mingle with orchestra members, then channel your inner Bach by trying your hand at some symphonic instruments. End your musical journey with a 45-minute concert led by Skagit Symphony’s assistant conductor. McIntyre Hall, 2501 E. College

Prepare to laugh all night as you listen to this Saturday Night Live alumni, known for his impressions of icons such as Obama, Jay-Z, and Will Smith. Pharoah has been permornimg stand-up comedy since he was 15 so plan for an entertaining show. The Skagit Casino Resort, 5984

JANUARY 26, 1 P.M.

N. Darrk Ln., Bow, 877.275.2448,

Way, Mount Vernon, 360.416.7727,





JANUARY 4, 7:30 P.M.

Originally from San Juan Island, this band will be finishing off their world tour on Lopez Island. Identifying as a rock, folk, pop, jazz, prog, and funk band, there is a little something for everyone at this concert. Lopez Community

As we descend into the darkest days of winter, Kulshan Chorus is here to remind us brighter times are ahead. Artistic Director Dustin Willetts picked a handful of selections for the evening that echo the theme of triumphing over adversity — an uplifting and eclectic showcase from artists like Jake Runestad, Pentatonix, and Craig Hella Johnson (yes, that is his real name). Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,

THE MET LIVE: PUCCINI’S MADAMA BUTTERFLY JANUARY 5, 1 P.M. Experience a whirlwind of emotions at this opera full of love and heartbreak. Butterfly, a doomed geisha, and her husband, a U.S. naval officer, will take you on a roller coaster throughout this three-act play. San Juan Community Theatre, 100 2nd St., Friday Harbor, 360.378.3210,


The Bolshoi Ballet — one of the oldest ballet companies in the world — is bringing its most popular titles to life. Among them is Marius Petipa’s “Raymonda,” an indelible work that remains one of the artist’s most famous ballets. Come be a part of what the Bolshoi Ballet calls “a work of living dance history.” San Juan Community Theatre, 100 2nd St., Friday Harbor, 360.378.3210,

Center, 204 Village Rd., Lopez Island, 360.468.2203,


With over 20 years and more than 2,100 shows under their belt, this bluegrass quintet is taking the nation by storm on their concert tour. This tight-knit group has released 13 albums since the ‘90s, with their most recent album “Love. Ain’t Love” receiving critical acclaim since its 2017 unveiling. Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St., Bellingham, 360.746.8733,

DAVID WILCOX JANUARY 16, 7 P.M. Get swept away in the earnest folk sounds of David Wilcox. A performer for over 30 years, Wilcox released his first independent album “The Nightshift Watchman” in the ‘80s and has since won the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Award, performed hundreds of shows, and released an album, “The View From the Edge,” in 2018. The Conway Muse, 18444 Spruce St., Conway, 360.445.3000,

acapella performances to educate and bring people together through song. Don’t miss your chance to see this talented eight-person ensemble in person. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,

SNBRN JANUARY 17, 9 P.M. A sunburn in January? It’s more likely than you think. If winter’s cold nights have given you the moody blues, SNBRN’s DJ set promises to bring a sunny mix of house and electronic music to the Wild Buff. Since his debut track “Raindrops” racked up more than 20 million plays on Spotify in 2015, SNBRN has appeared at popular festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. Wild Buffalo House of Music, 208 W. Holly St., Bellingham, 360.746.8733,

GREYSON CHANCE JANUARY 24, 7 P.M. Witness the electrifying performances of Greyson Chance and Skela at Concert One 2020, a benefit concert for people experiencing homelessness. Become a part of Chance’s Portraits World Tour, and hear the 12 new tracks from his recent album “Portraits,” full of the synth pop sounds and solo-piano style he’s known for. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,


Jazz, Brazilian choro, and traditional Irish music — fiddler and composer Andrew Finn Magill has tackled them all throughout his career. His Irish fiddle album “Drive & Lift” was featured on NPR and official Spotify playlists, and his 2016 album “Roots” nabbed number 46 on the Folk DJ charts. Come see this multi-talented performer live at the Bellingham Folk Festival. Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth St., Bellingham, 360.733.3837,



Celebrate 45 years of music dedicated to African-American history and culture. Sweet Honey in The Rock incorporates American Sign Language into their

Five-piece outfit SVER has made a name for themselves as one of the leading Nordic folk acts to cross the Atlantic.The group, which consists of two fiddlers, an accordionist, a guitarist, and a drummer, sounds like something you might find tucked away in a lively Norwegian pub. Sons of Rainier will start things off with

January 2020 31

Life  Events their brand of woozy, Appalachian-tinged folk. The Firefly Lounge, 1015 N. State St.,

dry clothes if you plan on taking the plunge! Jackson Beach Park, Jackson


Beach Rd., Friday Harbor, 360.378.4953




This Tony award-winning musical, which is based on the 1951 Gene Kelly film of the same name and features George and Ira Gershwin’s rousing score, has become something of an international sensation. For one night only, the musical is making its way to the Mount Baker Theatre to delight those who remember the original as well as those who get to experience it for the first time. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,


If you’ve ever been to a live screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” you know what to expect with this “Sound of Music” sing-along — only this one has worse monsters. Join the Von Trapp family as they, and a few hundred other costumed audience members, act out one of the most celebrated musicals of all time. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,


Intended for kids, this Austin Community College production reimagines Jack London’s beloved tale as a full audiovisual experience, complete with a 180-degree projection screen. Performer Noel Gaulin’s spirited performance brings Buck the dog to life in a way kids will find both funny and captivating. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,

HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOLUTION RUN/WALK 5K & SALISH SPLASH JANUARY 1, 10 A.M. Get a start on your 2020 fitness goals by joining this all-ages run. After the run, join others in an icy dip at the beach. Fires and snacks will be available afterward. Don’t forget to bring


JANUARY 4, 9:30 A.M.

Hosted by the Skagit Eagle Festival, this 5K trail run will take you around a ranch and beside the Skagit River. If you want to walk instead, there is a free nature walk to look for eagles, deer, beavers, and more. Double O Ranch, 46276 Concrete Sauk Valley Rd., Concrete, 360.853.8494,


Join the Center for Spiritual Healing for 90 minutes of meditation and mindfulness. A Tibetan bowl and other songs will help you get in the state of mind to relax and recharge. Take a break from your busy life and make time to clear your thoughts. Center for Spiritual Living, 2224 Yew Street Rd., Bellingham, 360.734.4160,

HOW TO THRIVE ON A PLANT-BASED DIET JANUARY 15 AND 22, 6 P.M. Have you been considering a plantbased diet? Want to learn more? Join others and learn more with WSU’s Skagit County Extension. The first class will focus on what you need to know when transitioning to a plant-based diet. The second class covers how to enjoy a wider variety of food. Come learn more at this donation-based class. WSU Skagit County Extension, 11768 Westar Ln., Ste. A, Burlington, 360.428.4270


Are you interested in doing yoga in a class or at home? Nicole Anthony, an experienced registered yoga teacher, is offering a 20-hour course that will give participants a foundation to practice safely and effectively on their own. You do not have to be a teacher to attend! Anacortes Yoga Studio, 1010 6th St., Anacortes, 360.293.1680,

SPECIAL EVENTS PADDLING WITH SPIRITS: A SOLO KAYAK JOURNEY JANUARY 17, 6 P.M. No, not those kind of spirits. Join author Irene Skyriver as she reads from her

award-winning novel, “Paddling with Spirits — A Solo Kayak Journey,” which recounts the kayaking voyage she took from Alaska to the San Juan Islands to celebrate 40 years of life. Skyriver intertwines her own history with that of her ancestors, weaving together a tapestry of generational storytelling. Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave., Bellingham, 360.778.7323,

REFOCUS 2020 JANUARY 18, 8 A.M. Make 2020 your best year yet by attending this inspirational workshop. Set new annual goals, develop a plan, and learn how to stick to it. Hosted by Excellence Northwest, this seminar aims to help you stay on track with resolutions and make real, impactful life changes. Get ready to make “new year, new you,” a reality. Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham, 360.734.6080,


Kwiaht will celebrate 12 years of researching juvenile Chinook salmon patterns. The director, Russel Barsh, will show how we can connect algae to killer whales and discuss the future of Salish Sea salmon. All this, plus local wine, salmon, snacks, and themed music. Lopez Community Center, 204 Village Rd., Lopez Island, 360.468.2203,


Join this panelist on NPR’s comedy news quiz “Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me!” for a side-splitting evening. Poundstone is also an author, lecturer, and actress. With over 85 shows a year, her performance is sure to impress. Lincoln Theatre, 712 S. 1st St., Mount Vernon, 360.336.8955,


BOOM! Let your kids play with fireworks — with none of the danger —  at this arts and crafts workshop. Use wooden dowels and special scratch paper to create one-ofa-kind, explosively colorful creations. Come celebrate the new year at this free

event that’s fun for all ages. Whatcom County Museum Family Interactive Gallery, 250 Flora St., Bellingham, 360.778.8974,




A post-Impressionist artist, Paul Gauguin moved from France to Tahiti in order to escape modern society and search for new inspirations for his work. Follow his journey from Tahiti into art museums around the U.S. in this new movie, which is part of the Great Art on Screen series. Pickford Film Center,


1318 Bay St., Bellingham, 360.738.0735,


For fans of Terrence Malick, his movies offer a glimpse into the sublime, a careful balance of extraordinary imagery nestled between moments of tender emotion (see: “The Tree of Life”). For others, they’re a sort of endurance test to see how long a person can sit still inside of the movie theater (see: “The Tree of Life”). At 173 minutes, his newest film, “A Hidden Life,” which follows an Austrian man who refused to fight for the Germans in WWII, will find viewers leaning toward one side of the aisle or another. Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St., Bellingham, 360.738.0735,

INTO THE WILD: A PHOTO JOURNEY WITH LEAH SERNA JANUARY 19, 2 P.M. Born and raised in the Cascade Foothills, Leah Serna is used to being around nature. Now she does it for a living. See her wildlife photography on a theater screen as she discusses her experiences and explains how she gets the perfect shot. Concrete Theatre, 45920 Main St., Concrete, 360.466.8754,


Join Western’s dance program at their annual event showcasing original student choreography, dancing, lighting, costumes, and electricians. Come support these local burgeoning performers in person. Western Washington University Performing Arts Center, 516 High St., Bellingham, 360.650.6146,

Gift Live Entertainment! Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles

JANUARY 16, 8 P.M.

Watercooler talk getting stale? We’ve got something you should know: Stuff You Should Know is coming to Seattle. If you’re not in the know, the podcast hosted by HowStuffWorks writers Josh Clark and Charles “Chuck” Bryant was the first to reach a billion downloads globally, making it one of the most popular podcasts on the planet.

FRI FEB 7 7:30PM $69.5 0, $59.5 0, $51.5 0, $29.5 0*


Moore Theatre, 1932 2nd Ave., Seattle, 206.682.1414,


The first week of Seattle Chamber Music’s Winter Festival kicks off with a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. The performance by the Ehnes Quartet follows the work of Beethoven throughout his life and includes a string quartet from his early, middle, and late years. The second week is more of a grab bag, with selections from Mozart and Bach, among others. Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle, 206.283.8710,

SAT FEB 15 7:30PM $59.5 0, $5 0.5 0, $41.5 0, $25.5 0*



If the phrase “I’m a feminist, but…” has ever crossed your lips, don’t feel guilty! Each episode of comedian Deborah Frances-White’s podcast (which is always held in front of a live audience) begins with the same line, and tackles topics such as workplace equality, domestic violence, and saying “sorry” too much. Since 2016, the podcast has been downloaded more than 60 million times. Commodore Ballroom, 868 Granville St., Vancouver, 604.739.4550,


tions Always Perfect

America's Funniest Females

SAT MAR 7 7:30PM $39.5 0, $35.5 0, $29.5 0, $20.5 0*


*Plus applicable fees.

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January 2020 33



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Em’s Herbals 38 Necessities: Scarves 40 The Lucky Dumpster 42


Photo by Lindsey Major


Bellingham Handmade Market


January 2020 35

Style  Community

Made with Heart Bellingham Handmade’s new space is a haven for creative energy. BY LINDSEY MAJOR


N AUGUST, we introduced you to Bellingham Handmade Market. As the previous story mentioned, Rachel Jackson — a local Bellingham artisan — played a large part in founding the market at Goods Nursery and Produce last spring. “At that point, I feel like it was definitely my project, and then Libby [Hale] and I started working together and it became our project,” Jackson says. As the market continued through the summer, the pair realized how well they worked together, and how clearly their ethics aligned. In addition to the partnership they had created, they had also fostered a community with the artists whose goods were at the market. As the end of the outdoor market 36

season approached, Jackson and Hale knew the shop was something they wanted to continue. “We were like, ‘Holiday season is right here, it just makes sense to keep going with this,’ but obviously we can’t keep doing Goods outdoors in the winter,” says Hale. The duo was hoping to find a vacant space they could occupy for the holiday months. As they researched, Hale and Jackson connected with the owner of a building in the Fountain District who was looking for a downstairs tenant — specifically someone working in the arts. Jackson and Hale decided to jump right in. Around this time, Hale was inspired to turn Bellingham Handmade into a

state-level nonprofit organization. “It just made sense for all the goals we were talking about and aligning with,” she says. “[Non-profit status would] help us be able to reel in some big grants, which is how I saw, ideally, being able to fund artists having a living wage and surviving in Bellingham,” Hale continues. When I visited Hale and Jackson in the new retail space on Meridian Street, the store had only been open for five days and still smelled of fresh wood. The building’s bright yellow exterior is hard to miss, and the interior is equally bright, with wooden shelves and colored walls. Throughout the store, you’ll find various handcrafted goods from local makers, like cutting

boards made by Carrve Woodworks and the entire collection of El Fuego Hot Sauces. Jackson sells her jewelry in the space, as does Hale, who makes whimsical needle felt work. Other gift items, like shirts, hats, novelty figurines, and home decor pieces also abound. In addition to the retail shop, the new space also has a classroom. Artists who pay for a Bellingham Handmade membership and sell their goods in-store can use the space for free. Jackson taught the first class in midNovember, on creating ear hooks. Class prices are set by the instructor and are available to the public. Members are able to attend the classes strictly at material cost. Community Members, which is another tier of membership, may reserve the space for an hourly rate. “You can hold classes in there, use it as a workroom, study space, meeting spot, whatever,” says Hale. “It’s definitely more like a solo little area to work.” 2715 Meridian St., Bellingham,  January 2020 37

Style  Savvy Shopper

Mint to Be Em’s Herbals uses locally sourced, organic ingredients in their hand-made products. BY LINDSEY MAJOR


FTER OBTAINING HER DEGREE in botanical medicine, Emily Pacheco opened her first herb shop in Eugene, Oregon in 2002. When she moved to Bellingham in 2006, she brought the business with her, but ultimately sold it in 2008 to focus on her family. However, over time, she felt there was something missing in her life. “In 2015, I realized I really wasn’t happy not working with herbs and plants,” Pacheco says. Together with her husband, sister, and shop manager, Pacheco worked hard to create a new online business, Em’s Herbals. The online store launched in 2015 and has thrived ever since.


Top sellers at Em’s Herbals include various hand-poured salves. You’ll also find several other body care products, like whipped body butter, lip balms, and bath infusions, as well as a wide variety of teas and teapots. If you’re looking for something specific, try browsing the website’s ingredients page, or shopping for herbs in bulk. For local shoppers, orders placed online can be picked up at the new production facility on Bakerview Road to avoid shipping charges and delivery wait times. Pacheco strives to use as many locally sourced herbs as possible. “I mean, obviously there are some things that just don’t grow in this region. But our focus is as local as possible,” she says. Even the beeswax — an essential ingredient in many products — is sourced from farmers in Whatcom County. All products and ingredients are also certified organic. “It’s either organic, ethically well-crafted, or we don’t carry it,” Pacheco says. An active community member, Em’s Herbals has partnered with several local businesses, including the Community Food Co-op. “They’ve picked up our pure calendula salve and our pure arnica salve,” says Pacheco. Other professionals, such as massage therapists and bodyworkers, are working with Pacheco to create products that ease pain and promote relaxation. “Old School Tattoo has contacted us about formulating a private label tattoo balm for their space,” Pacheco says. Moving forward, Pacheco hopes to establish a greater retail presence in the community. As her kids grow up, she hopes to participate in local farmers markets. This past holiday season, Em’s Herbals popped up at holiday markets and shows, something Pacheco hopes to repeat. In the meantime, shop the website, don’t hesitate to call with questions, and check the store’s blog for more information. 2795 E. Bakerview Rd., Ste. 17, Bellingham, 360.778.2295, 

Fairhaven Barkley Cordata Lynden Ferndale Blaine Birch Bay

• • • • • • •

Orthopaedics Women’s Health Work Injuries Sports Injuries Auto Injuries Post Surgical Hand Therapy


Care Medical Group is moving locations! Come March 2020 we will be in our new location at 4043 Northwest Avenue, Bellingham, WA. You will find all of the same exceptional services you have come to expect including urgent care, family medicine, occupational medicine, massage and physical therapy. We look forward to continuing to serve you for all future healthcare needs! Look to our Facebook page @CareMedicalGroup or call us at (360)734-4300 for more information.

January 2020 39

Style  Necessities

1 2 3 4 Photo by Dean Davidson

5 40

Did you know? With hearing aid use…




here in the Pacific Northwest can be frigid. The wind, the rain, and the biting cold make even the shortest dash from house to car miserable. The best we can do is bundle up. To help you stay fashionable and toasty at the same time, we gathered some of our favorite scarves from some of our favorite stores around town. Check them out, bundle up, and stay warm this winter season.

1 2 3 4 5

Orange Fringe Scarf $20, Betty Be Good, Blaine

Age-related cognitive decline may slow as much as




is freed up to focus on other functions


of older adults report improved quality of life*

Treat your hearing loss and help your brain at the same time.

Call for your free hearing screening today!


SPENCER Pamela H. Spencer M.A., CCC-A, FAAA AUDIOLOGY CLINIC 2114 James St • Bellingham *Sources available upon request.

Blanket Infinity Scarf $28, Fringe Boutique, Bellingham

Valentine’s Day Scarf $159, Three French Hens, Fairhaven

Long Olive-Green Scarf $25, Sojourn, Bellingham

Gray and White Reversible Scarf $60, Yeager’s Sporting Goods, Bellingham

January 2020 41

Style  Local Find

Celebrating the Creative Spirit The Lucky Dumpster BY LARA DUNNING


OR 13 YEARS, The Lucky

Dumpster has been a part of downtown Edison. Located in a historic lumber and hardware store, steps away from Slough Food and Breadfarm, the eclectic consignment shop showcases a mix of handmade goods from more than 200 skilled artisans who work in a variety of mediums, including painting, pottery, fiber arts, and hand-blown glass.

The Lucky Dumpster had humble beginnings in a guitar shop in downtown Bellingham and naturally evolved into the artist-driven and diverse shop it is today. Much of that has to do with the owner, James Reisen, who holds an innate desire to help craftspeople find value in their work and turn their artistic endeavors into a livelihood. “I celebrate the makers’ spirit and appreciate the energy that each person puts into creating things,” Reisen says. “What I am most proud of is that they all want to make stuff and that they seek out the store to share their work and reach the public.” 42

A multi-talented craftsman, Reisen’s woodwork, jewelry, whirligigs, and mobiles (just to name a few) are tucked throughout the store. You’ll also find creations from artist Jessica Bonin, co-founder of The Lucky Dumpster and the artist who painted the Edward R. Murrow mural on the side of the building with his quote, “Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.”

One-of-a-Kind Finds The store has a wide range of goods, which depend on the artist’s craft and their latest work. Since there is such

diversity, prices can vary from a few dollars (including a dollar bin for children) up to several hundred. On a visit, one might find unique handmade furniture and housewares such as wooden spoons and decorative pottery. If you’re looking for a gift, the store offers earrings, blown-glass birds ($11), beeswax candles, eyeglass magnets, handmade cards ($4), sand-blasted numbered rocks ($10), handbags, tie-dye socks, paintings, and mosaics. The Lucky Dumpster only takes cash or check and is open Friday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 14001 Mactaggart Ave., Edison, 360.766.4049 

Photos by Lara Dunning

A Place to Appreciate the Artisan

The Apothecary Wellness Center NOW OPEN

bellingham alive 2020.indd 2

12/3/2019 1:52:56 PM

Welcoming New Patients! A lifetime of health starts in childhood. We offer coordinated medical and dental services to kids of all ages at Bellingham and our new North Whatcom Health Center in Ferndale. Convenient Saturday hours too! Call today for an appointment! (360) 676-6177 Medicaid, Private Insurance, Sliding Fee Discount Program.




Mental Health by Becky Mendelbaum



he new year is often a time for recommitting to our health. When we think of healthy resolutions, we might imagine gym memberships, bottles of supplements, or the latest diet fad. While physical health is certainly an important aspect of our wellbeing, mental health is equally as important. This is especially true in the winter months, when roughly 30 percent of people living in northern climates suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In fact, us Washingtonians are seven times more likely to develop SAD than those living in Florida, making it essential that we pay attention to our mental health. To help you navigate the world of mental illness — from generalized anxiety to PTSD and depression — this feature explores several common mental health disorders and the effects they have on our everyday lives. In each section, we gain insight from a local mental health professional to learn more about symptoms, unknown facts, and how to find help for yourself or a loved one.

Anxiety Disorders ANXIETY: an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it. – Merriam-Webster


ITH PLENTY OF MODERN STRESSORS in addition to genetic predispositions, it’s no surprise that anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illness in the U.S. More than 40 million American adults experienced some kind of anxiety in 2018, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Sadly, fewer than 40 percent of these people sought professional treatment. The good news? Anxiety disorders are often extremely treatable. Anxiety disorders encompass several disorders, including generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, and phobias. Here you’ll find an introduction to a few of the most common disorders. Remember, if you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, it’s important to speak with a certified mental health professional.

Generalized Anxiety SYMPTOMS

A persistent sense of impending doom or danger

Increased heart rate

Feeling weak or lethargic

Difficulty sleeping

Gastrointestinal issues

Difficulty concentrating

Rapid breathing

Q&A with Tamara Harrison, MA, LMHCA, CMHS TAMARA HARRISON is a

licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in Fairhaven. Before deciding to practice independently, she worked in a number of different settings, including community mental health agencies, a group practice, schools, hospitals, and jails. Currently, Harrison sees both youth and adults and loves working with issues like anxiety,

eating disorders, and trauma. She believes she has the best job in the world: every day, she gets to come alongside others to help them find hope and freedom.

What are the most common signs of generalized anxiety? We all experience anxiety at times; it’s part of being human and a very normal emotion that sometimes gets a bad rap. Anxiety can actually be helpful to us! It can motivate us to succeed, prepare us for important events, keep us alert when we need to be, and protect us from danger. So, how do you know when anxiety is more than a normal emotion and is becoming a problem? It might be time to take a closer look when it starts to get in the way of doing things you love, or when it prevents you from functioning well in your daily life. There are a lot of different “flavors” of anxiety, but one of the most common is known as generalized anxiety disorder. If you suffer with this, you likely experience near-constant worry about a lot of different things. The worry can range from minor problems to big issues, but is usually out of proportion and doesn’t let up, no matter how hard you try to “let go.” You may worry about things that most people don’t seem to be concerned about, or you may “catastrophize” and imagine the worst possible outcome. If a friend doesn’t return your text, you convince yourself they don’t like you anymore. If your son isn’t home five minutes past curfew, you imagine he’s been in a terrible car accident. If your boss appears upset, you think you’re about to get fired. And even if you do recognize your thoughts as illogical, it feels impossible to turn them off. The thoughts repeat themselves like a broken record and can be intrusive. Ultimately, if you have generalized anxiety, it can feel pretty hard to relax, concentrate, or make decisions. You might struggle with uncertainty and feel the need to know exactly how things are going to turn out. You could also have a general feeling of uneasiness or a constant dread that something bad is going to happen. As you can imagine, all this worrying can cause a number of unfortunate side effects. It might be hard to fall asleep because your mind just won’t “turn off,” and you may feel very tired during the day. Another common symptom is having no appetite or experiencing uncomfortable digestive issues. Finally, you might notice that you constantly feel tense, get headaches, or have random aches and pains.

What signs are less common? The more obvious signs of anxiety are apparent, but some symptoms don’t seem to make much sense and can ultimately be overlooked. For example, some people with anxiety can be overly irritable and notice themselves lashing out more often. Others become incredibly forgetful and disorganized. There can also be strange physical sensations: a lump-like feeling in your throat, tingling in your hands and feet, nausea to the point of throwing up, numbness in your body, shivering or shaking, ringing in your ears, or blurred vision. Even seemingly random symptoms, such as needing to urinate more often or excessive belching, can be lesser known signs of anxiety. Additionally, some will have the urge to pick their skin, nails, or hair when they’re worried. Others might January 2020 45

stutter, speak really fast, fidget, or develop tics. If this seems like a really long list of random symptoms, you’re right! That’s why it’s important not to jump to conclusions if you experience any of these symptoms in isolation (although jumping to conclusions can be yet another symptom of anxiety!). Always rule out any medical conditions first, and try to find a doctor who has some experience with anxiety disorders. Ultimately, if you’re continually experiencing strange symptoms without any physical cause, it might be time to see if anxiety is the root.

What causes generalized anxiety? Many who struggle with anxiety will inevitably have the thought “What’s wrong with me, why do I feel like this, and how did I get here?!” It’s important to know there’s not one single cause of generalized anxiety. Most cases of anxiety result from a mix of genetic, biological, environmental, and social factors. If others in your family have a history of anxiety, it’s more likely for you to inherit a genetic predisposition to it, and if you have a parent or caregiver with anxiety, you have a higher chance of suffering simply because we mirror what we’re modeled. Being a woman also sets you up to be twice as likely to struggle with anxiety. This is due to a number of potential factors: More women than men experience abuse, women have higher fluctuations in hormones, and female brains respond differently to the neurotransmitters involved in anxiety. From a biological point of view, anxiety sufferers usually have higher activity in different parts of the brain, such as the amygdala, which responds to fear and sets off the “fight or flight” response. Environmental, social, and psychological components can also play a part in anxiety. Those who have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect might have a more difficult time regulating emotions and managing fears. They can start associating harmless situations with prior traumatic events, resulting in a strong anxiety response and a higher sensitivity to stress. We also know there’s a link between social media and anxiety; the constant barrage of notifications can create distractions that impact our emotions, attention, and sleep. Additionally, social media encourages us to compare our lives to what we see online, creating worries about missing out or not being good enough. Finally, various lifestyle factors can make it easier to develop anxiety, such as excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol, overworking, or not getting enough sleep or exercise. Any one of these factors stresses out our systems and makes us more prone to

responding with worry or fear. Ultimately, it’s not just one single factor that creates an anxiety disorder, but rather a “perfect storm” of different contributors.

Is anxiety related to stress? Anxiety is related to stress in the sense that chronic stress can set the stage for an anxiety disorder. The difference between the two is that stress is typically something that happens in our external world: a demanding work schedule, a baby who won’t sleep, a conflict with a spouse. Anxiety, on the other hand, is an internal reaction to an external stressor. So, if work or family stress consistently causes you to ruminate on a problem, creates a feeling of dread, or leads you to imagine the worst possible outcome, anxiety is probably at play.

How do you typically treat someone with generalized anxiety?

The good news about all this seemingly discouraging anxiety talk is that treatment is highly effective! I love working with people who have anxiety, because I know there is hope for real change. I use a variety of approaches to treat the issue, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based techniques, and psychodynamic therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is so helpful because it identifies the anxious automatic thoughts that regularly run through our minds. Usually we’re not even aware of these thoughts, and it’s not uncommon for clients to be shocked when they become aware of the lies they tell themselves all day long. When we take the time to understand what we’re thinking and why, we have the ability to change irrational or unhelpful thoughts into ones that align more closely with the truth. When we do the work of changing thoughts that don’t serve us, we create new thinking processes that are much less anxiety-inducing. Mindfulness is all the rage these days, and for good reason! Mindfulness teaches us how to slow down and observe our present-moment experience without judgment. This is as easy as asking ourselves what thoughts we’re thinking, what emotions are present, and what sensations we feel in our bodies at any given moment. When we do this, we allow ourselves to see our experience almost as if we were an outside observer, and this helps us to become less enmeshed with our anxiety. This small separation from anxiety reminds us that we truly are not our thoughts. We then have the ability to respond to our worries in a much more intentional and less reactive way. Mindfulness also teaches us to become curious about how we experience anxiety, which gives us permission to feel it fully. We spend so much time avoiding, fighting, or resisting anxiety, but this just “It is okay to have depression, intensifies it! Ironically, it is the act of leaning into anxiety with acceptance and self-compassion that it is okay to have anxiety, it is allows it to lessen. I have a lot of fun helping clients okay to have an adjustment “befriend” anxiety instead of villainize it. One of disorder. We need to improve my favorite questions to ask is, “Where do you feel the conversation. We all have anxiety in your body right now?” I then ask them mental health in the same way to “be with” this space by getting curious about we all have physical health.” what it’s trying to communicate and what it might need. This is simply one way of bringing mindful Prince Harry


“Fear has been something I’ve lived with my entire life, the fear of being in public places, which led to anxiety or panic attacks. I stayed in my house and literally cried every day.” Kim Basinger

attention to our experience, and most of my clients notice that, with practice, their anxiety decreases over time. Finally, psychodynamic therapy can play a huge part in treatment, as it allows clients to understand how their past experiences affect their present functioning. We all have childhood wounds, no matter how great our upbringing. As children, our brain development, behavior, and beliefs are shaped by our experiences and the messages we receive from others. For example, if you were directly or indirectly told that fear and anxiety were not “acceptable” or “allowable” emotions, you may have never learned healthy ways of coping with worry. Or, if you didn’t have your physical or emotional needs met as a child, you’re more likely to worry about whether those needs will be met as an adult. If you experienced a traumatic event as a child, you may grow up subconsciously believing that the whole world is a fearful place. There’s a huge link between childhood trauma and anxiety disorders, so being able to connect past events with current symptoms can be incredibly eye-opening and empowering.

What do you suggest for people suffering from generalized anxiety? First of all, know that you’re not alone! Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States, so you’re certainly not the only one suffering. Second, there is very real hope for even the most debilitating cases of anxiety. I highly recommend working with a good counselor to find out what’s contributing to your anxiety, as well as to give you the tools to manage it. Counseling can help you become more aware of the anxious thoughts that run through your mind, the way you react to those anxious thoughts, and the habits that perpetuate the cycle of rumination, worry, and panic. In addition to counseling, adopting a good exercise regimen can do wonders for your mental health! Whether it’s a vigorous run or a restorative yoga class, studies show that consistent exercise can be just as effective as taking antianxiety medication! A good workout can release tension, improve your body’s response to stress, defuse nervous energy, and help you think more clearly. Also of importance is maintaining healthy sleep and hygiene. Lack of sleep can absolutely increase worry and interfere with the way we process stress, so it’s important to really make sure the quality and quantity of your sleep is good! Having a good support system is key when you’re suffering. When you notice yourself going into a spiral of worry, talking it through with one or two trusted friends can really help you put things into perspective. Or, if you’re unable to connect with someone, journaling your thoughts can slow down your mind enough to see things a little more clearly. Sometimes, I even prescribe my clients “worry times”

in which they actually schedule time each day to focus on worrying. This might sound totally counterintuitive, but we spend so much time fighting our anxiety that having a contained time to let yourself be anxious ironically lessens the distress. It also helps manage anxiety during the day; you tell yourself you’ll postpone rumination to your scheduled worry time and continue with what you were doing. Finally, having a couple of go-to relaxation methods can be super helpful in calming your mind and body during highanxiety times. There are great guided meditation apps such as Calm or Insight Timer, or you might enjoy a deep-breathing exercise. Ultimately, recovering from an anxiety disorder is all about finding what works best for your specific situation, and it can take some trial and error to see what fits. However, the hard work of recovery is absolutely worth it if it means living a life free from excessive worry and anxiety.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) DEFINITION: An anxiety disorder characterized by

recurrent obsessions or compulsions or both that cause significant distress, are time-consuming or interfere with normal daily functioning, and are recognized by the individual affected as excessive or unreasonable. – Merriam-Webster

Q&A with Emily Smith, MS, LMHC, NCC EMILY SMITH is a licensed

mental health counselor and a National Certified Counselor. Smith holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Western Washington University. Smith started her career in the mental health field 13 years ago and has provided mental health therapy for the past nine years. Smith’s private practice WellSource Counseling, LLC. is located in downtown Bellingham and focuses on providing evidencebased treatment for anxiety, OCD, and related disorders.

What are the most common signs of OCD? How does the disorder typically manifest? OCD consists of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. The obsessive thoughts are repetitive, intrusive, and highly distressing thoughts that take up a lot of the person’s time. In popular culture, obsessing is often used to describe thoughts someone is having that are enjoyable or quirky, “You’re obsessed with golf” or “You’re obsessing about your crush.” In OCD, obsessions are not enjoyable thoughts or daydreams. They are uncomfortable, stressful, repetitive, and anxiety-provoking thoughts that are unwanted and unrealistic. Some common themes for obsessive thoughts January 2020 47

is unplugged, even though you’ve just locked the door or you in OCD are thoughts about contamination from germs know you didn’t hit a bird while driving. or chemicals, thoughts around harm such as fear of having It may be surprising to know that OCD is not about being caused someone harm or the possibility of causing harm, neat and clean or liking your socks to be arranged by color. excessive religious fears about right and wrong, unwanted While these behaviors may be quirky or particular or create and taboo sexual topics, and perfection-related themes. The problems in a relationship, they are not what defines OCD. person having these obsessive thoughts knows on some level OCD is a highly distressing disorder that does not create a that the thoughts are unrealistic or untrue, but this doesn’t sense of enjoyment or satisfaction but rather intense stress stop the thoughts and feelings from happening. with only moments of relief. A compulsive behavior is an act that is attempting to Many people with OCD feel deeply worried about the decrease the level of distress and anxiety that is associated themes of their obsessive thoughts. Obsessive themes are with the obsessive thoughts. These behaviors are excessive often centered around a feared and scary topic. An example and unnecessary at preventing the feared topic but do very of a harm-related obsessive theme are thoughts that the temporarily decrease some of the anxiety associated with person has unknowingly harmed a loved one, that perhaps the obsessive thoughts. Common categories of compulsive they forgot some horrible thing they have done and need to behaviors are checking, washing and cleaning, counting, check to make sure they didn’t do it. This is very confusing repeating (doing the same behavior again), and mental for folks with OCD who often wonder why they are having compulsions (mental review, thinking a certain word). these thoughts and what it means. A common question is, A simple example would be obsessive thoughts about “Because I’m having these thoughts does it mean I really whether you’ve locked the door. If you think right now want to do this thing I’m thinking about?” and the answer is about whether you’ve locked the door at home and you no. These are obsessive thoughts based on fear. One example don’t have OCD or anxiety about this topic, you probably many people can relate to is standing on a high bridge or the briefly wonder, “Yeah, I’m sure I did,” or, “Maybe I didn’t top of a tall building. Many people might have the thought, but it’s probably OK,” and your thoughts move on. With “What if I stepped off the edge?” and then they giggle OCD, the thoughts would sound more like, “Did I lock the nervously because they know that’s door, I know that I did, but is that just an unrealistic thought and that they me thinking that I did, I might have, don’t really want to step off the edge but what if I didn’t, but what if I can’t “You don’t have to learn to and that they are not going to do so. remember if I did or not, maybe I can’t control your thoughts, you A person with OCD may have the remember, can I remember? I don’t just have to stop letting them same thought, but then the thought know if I am remembering that I did or control you.” starts repeating itself and more if I’m just thinking that I did it,” and this thoughts are generated about what may continue until the person engages in Author Unknown it means such as, “Does having this the compulsive behavior of checking the thought mean I want to step off the door to see if it is locked. The checking edge? What does it mean about me as a person?” Rather than temporarily relieves the feeling of anxiety and compulsion disregarding this thought, they start worrying about what the to check. If a person checked one time to see if the door was thought means. locked, that wouldn’t take too much time; unfortunately, what can happen in OCD is that it is not just one time. The What causes OCD? obsessive thoughts and the feelings can continue despite In a broad overview of the cause of OCD, research so far checking the lock 10 times or having just checked it two can conclude that there are specific parts of the brain that seconds ago. This is where the vicious cycle of obsessive are overactive in OCD. This can be seen on imaging studies thoughts and compulsive behavior can start to take over of the brain. We also know there is a communication problem a person’s time and energy. between the fear center of the brain and the executive What signs are less common/more surprising? function of the brain located in the frontal lobe. Rather Sometimes, people who have OCD don’t self-identify as than discounting thoughts that are not important, the feeling anxious. There is a compulsive feeling that people who brain is engaged and stuck in excessive doubt and analysis. have OCD experience. The easiest way to explain this feeling Thoughts that a person would usually just disregard as is the feeling you have when your hands are dirty and you odd or unrealistic or untrue are given undue attention. The feel that you need to wash them. Many people might get this overactive parts of the brain become more practiced and feeling when they get home from work at the end of the day automatic in repeating the obsessive thoughts, generating before they eat dinner. You don’t actually know the level of excessive worry and fear. The feeling of anxiety and fear that germs on your hands but they feel grimy to you, and you feel accompanies these thoughts makes it seem as if the obsessive that you need to wash your hands. Imagine getting this feeling thoughts might be a possibility. In addition to the specific even though you have just washed your hands moments ago. brain areas that are involved, we also know that genetics This is part of what is happening in OCD. Feeling that you and the neurotransmitter serotonin play a part in OCD, and need to check that the door is locked or wash your hands or that taking a group of medications called selective serotonin see if you hit a bird while driving or making sure the toaster reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be helpful in treatment.


How do you typically treat someone with OCD? One of the primary evidence-based ways to treat OCD is with cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy has been well-researched and proven to be effective for many people who have OCD. This is typically a one-hour appointment once a week with homework assignments. This type of therapy changes both the brain response and behavioral response to obsessive thoughts and creates a different feedback loop that begins to decrease the obsessive thoughts. This results in the person spending much less time experiencing OCD symptoms. Changing the response to the obsessive thoughts and anxious feelings is a key component in treatment. A technique called “exposure and response prevention” is a highly effective part of cognitive behavioral therapy. It is important to learn this technique with a licensed and knowledgeable therapist. This is essentially allowing the parts of the brain involved in OCD the experiences needed to learn that the compulsive behaviors are not necessary. This technique gives the brain a different pathway in which to understand and disregard the obsessive thoughts. Over time, the client learns how to not engage in compulsive behaviors and disregard obsessive thoughts until OCD is taking up much less of their time.

What do you suggest for people suffering from OCD? For people suffering from OCD, I want them to know that having OCD is not your fault, it is simply a part of the brain becoming overactive and that there is a very effective treatment in cognitive behavioral therapy, that many people wish they had started sooner. I suggest that they find a therapist who is knowledgeable specifically about OCD. Some types of insight-oriented talk therapy are not effective for OCD. It is important that if you think you are experiencing OCD that you learn about OCD and that you find a counselor that can teach you even more about OCD and the skills to treat it.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) DEFINITION: A psychological reaction occurring after

experiencing a highly stressful event (such as wartime combat, physical violence, or a natural disaster) that is usually characterized by depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and avoidance of reminders of the event. – Merriam-Webster AFTER A DANGEROUS, SHOCKING, OR EMOTIONAL EVENT, known as a trauma, many people experience a

window of emotional distress. They might ruminate on the experience, reliving it in their thoughts and dreams. PTSD is when these symptoms linger for longer than a month, affecting daily life, work, and relationships. Symptoms of PTSD don’t always start right after the trauma occurs; sometimes symptoms appear months or

even years later in life. It’s also important to keep in mind that not all PTSD occurs after a scary or life-threatening experience. Sometimes PTSD will follow the death of a loved one, a dramatic life change, or after witnessing a dangerous or scary event happen to someone else, typically a close friend or family member.

Q&A with Chericka Ashmann, LICSW, MHP, CMHS CHERICKA ASHMANN is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 20 years of experience. Ashmann is also a survivor of suicide and arrest related to undiagnosed complex PTSD and found recovery through intensive EMDR. It is because of her experience that she is able to reach people on the edge and help them to safety. Ashmann is a staunch advocate for helping professionals, formerly incarcerated youth and adults, single parents, first responders, athletes and neurodiverse individuals who skip to the beat of their own drum. She will graduate with her Doctor of Social Work degree in 2020.

What do you wish more people knew about PTSD and trauma? What are some common misconceptions? Trauma and PTSD do not discriminate. I cannot think of one person I know who has not sustained some sort of trauma throughout their life span. Does that mean that everyone I know has had a near-death experience or been violently assaulted? No. This is why trauma is tricky and why the word itself is loaded. Trauma by definition means a deeply distressing or disturbing experience or physical injury. That could be anything, literally, to anyone. PTSD is most commonly associated with serious injury, sexual violence, or life-threatening experiences, including threats that don’t actually result in any physical harm. These traumas are referred to as “Big Ts.” Distressing events such as non-life-threatening injuries, emotional abuse, death of a pet, bullying or harassment, and loss of significant relationships are called “Little Ts.” Post-traumatic stress is not something someone can “just get over,” and oftentimes after a traumatic experience, someone can appear to be fine. While many people can cope after an event, there are symptoms that require the intervention of a professional. Unfortunately, symptoms can arise much later, which can be very confusing and disorienting. The rule of thumb should be that trauma is extremely personal and it’s best not to judge someone you recognize might need help. The same “seemingly” traumatic event can happen to several people and the way they view it/ process it can be totally different. Some might develop PTSD while others won’t. It’s about the brain, adaptive information processing, and the individual. Finally, PTSD and trauma are very treatable and finding the right therapist is key. It’s important to ask your therapist

January 2020 49

about their education, training, and experience, as well as the type of therapy they utilize and how they will approach your specific concerns. Most therapists offer free consultations, and my recommendation is to see someone face-to-face in order to get a feel for them and the space they operate out of.

What are the most common signs of PTSD? Common signs of PTSD can include a rapid change in mood and behavior when triggered by something that reminds them of an unfavorable experience, use of substances both recreational and prescribed to alleviate symptoms, insomnia, recurring nightmares or intrusive memories of the event, avoidance or isolation, chronic depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, to name a few. It’s important to understand that every person is going to respond differently to a traumatic impact, depending on many factors including baseline functioning before the event occurred, developmental phase in life, race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, natural support systems, education, and much more. It can be more difficult to assess children and teens due to developmental stages they are going through. Especially teenagers, who are expected to experience mood swings, sleep more, isolate, and experiment with substances. What you might see in younger children is regression in behavior. For instance, a child who has given up thumb sucking long ago might revert back. Perhaps the greatest thing about little ones is their ability to say it like it is. If they tell you something has frightened or upset them, they are attempting to process that. Teenagers are not so forthcoming. Involvement with the juvenile justice system, suicide attempts, substance use beyond experimentation, serious injuries related to athletic events or outdoor activities, running away, and plummeting grades all indicate a need for assessment.

What signs are less common/more surprising? When I listen to discussions about suicide prevention, I rarely hear inclusion of information about trauma. Trauma intervention and education are paramount in addressing rapidly rising suicide rates across the country. Suicidal ideation is much more common than is openly discussed and it’s often due to individuals either not understanding what is happening to themselves, feeling judged for not being able to manage symptoms they are experiencing, or having an overwhelming desire to make intense emotional or physical pain stop. Other uncommon symptoms or behaviors include talking about an event repeatedly to whoever, whenever. Even if the person can talk about the event calmly and rationally, they speak about it as if it happens again and again which may

contain upsetting content for the listener. People sometimes describe experiencing a need to “feel alive” after numbing for long periods of time and do so by participating in extreme or risky behaviors such as sports and other outdoor activities, reckless driving, and other things that naturally raise cortisol levels. Incarceration, substance abuse/dependence, multiple injuries, or chronic illness and pain are also “symptoms” to consider.

What’s the relationship between PTSD, anxiety, and depression? PTSD can be misdiagnosed as anxiety or depression in its initial stages. Depression and anxiety can also co-occur along PTSD as natural responses to an event. Chronic and severe depression and anxiety may indicate a need for further evaluation or exploration of treatment specific to treating trauma.

What do you suggest for people suffering from PTSD? What do you suggest for their loved ones? I suggest reaching out to a trauma-informed therapist who is trained or certified and actively uses an evidence-based approach to treatment. Those interested in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) should visit emdria. org to find a trained or certified therapist in their area. My suggestion for loved ones is to also seek support, either in a group setting or individually, and to become educated about what your loved one is going through and how to be supportive. Most importantly, loved ones need to realize that they are also at risk for vicarious trauma through exposure and will likely benefit from their own EMDR or other evidence-based therapy. When someone commits to EMDR therapy, marked changes will become evident and it’s important that their loved ones understand that they may not be the same after an experience and they may be much better off upon completion of treatment.


Vehicle accidents

Loss of a child

Physical combat

Difficult/painful birth

Sexual violence

Serious health issues


Natural disaster

Childhood or domestic abuse

Avoiding people, places, and situations that remind you of the event

Lack of interest in activities and people you once enjoyed

Severe anxiety/feeling terror when no threat is present



Frightening, intrusive thoughts

Flashbacks that come with increased heart rate, sweating


National Center for PTSD,

PTSD Alliance,

Military OneSource, 800.342.9647, Offers 24/7 hotline so veterans and military members can speak to a counselor or ask about local VA resources


Nightmares about the traumatic event or generally disturbing dreams


“I still take medication for my depression today and I have no shame in that, because my mom said to me, ‘If you start to feel this way, talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist, see how you want to help yourself.’”

DEFINITION: A mood disorder marked especially by

sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. – Merriam-Webster


Around the world, more than 300 million people suffer from depression.

In the U.S., more than 7 percent of people — around 17.3 million adults — experience at least one major depressive episode per year.

Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men.

Depression is the most common cause of disability.

Source: World Health Organization

Depression in Women

Postpartum Depression This type of depression occurs following childbirth or even during pregnancy, typically as a result of hormonal fluctuations. Symptoms include feelings of sadness, crying bouts, racing thoughts, changes in eating or sleep, anger and irritability, and feeling distant or withdrawn.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder A week or two prior to menstruation, some women experience this type of depression, which is essentially a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms include severe mood swings, negative thinking, irritability, anxiety, lethargy, difficulty focusing, and panic attacks.

Q&A with R. Chris Turner, MS, LMHC, NCC R. CHRIS TURNER holds a

Bachelor of Arts from Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, and completed his Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling from Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. Turner is a licensed mental health counselor and clinical supervisor in the state of Washington, and has been working with adolescents and adults in a therapeutic capacity for seven years.

What is the difference between depression and sadness? Sadness is a common (and completely normal!) human emotion that we experience. It’s usually the result of a

Kristen Bell

precipitating event that has happened in our lives. Once this event changes or fades, our sadness usually fades with it. We feel sad about something, whereas depression is different. Depression is more of an emotional state, something that affects how we think and feel, as well as how we react and see the world. Depression does NOT have to be triggered by an event or circumstance to be present, and often we see it happen seemingly at random.

What are the most common signs of depression? Clinically speaking, we look for ongoing symptoms lasting more than a few weeks. Signs include a continuous depressed or irritable mood, loss of interest in activities previously viewed as fun/exciting, significant changes in weight or appetite, sleep disruption, fatigue/low energy, loss of concentration, and feelings of worthlessness and guilt more often than not. Depression does not always have to include thoughts of dying or suicide, but definitely can.

What signs are less common/more surprising? Most people don’t see that, along with depression, we see increases in use of alcohol or substances, physical pain, difficulty making decisions, feeling overwhelming guilt, feeling grouchy or “over it” all too often, and even forgetting to (or being unable to) care for yourself (e.g. taking a shower, brushing your teeth, going to bed, etc.).

What causes depression? This is a tough one. Depression can be caused by a myriad of factors. Depression can be developed due to chemical changes in the brain, certain life events (longterm unemployment, prolonged toxic relationships or isolation, significant continued stress), and even sometimes elements such as family history (depression can run in families), medical illness, alcohol or substance use, and certain personality traits (worrying a lot, low self-esteem, perfectionism) can contribute to the development of depression.

What is the relationship between depression and anxiety? They’re best buds. Where one is present, the other usually shows up to tag along. No one really knows why they

January 2020 51

“I found that with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it… I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, ‘Hey, it’s all gonna be okay.’ So I knew that.” Dwayne, The Rock, Johnson

like each other so much — but what we do know is a high percentage of people diagnosed with depression also meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. Some experts believe that some forms of anxiety lead to repeating patterns of behavior and thought that actually cause the development of depression.

How do you typically treat someone with depression? There are several therapeutic methods to treat depression. Personally, I use a cognitive behavioral therapy approach with the treatment of depression. Basically, this takes a look at how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all interact with each other, and the influence they have on how you view yourself and the world. The issue we most often find is that when depression is present, our thoughts tend to be quite negative — making everything else we think, feel, and do reflective of that. That negative and critical internal chatter can create the proverbial dark and rainy cloud over us. The first step is to make you aware of these thoughts, which mostly fit into categories we call “distortions.” The second step is to teach you to change them in a process we call cognitive restructuring — a fancy term for saying “retraining your brain how to think.” We take these negative or irrational thoughts, identify the distortion category, and reframe it to be a more neutral, productive, or at least factually accurate thought. In addition, we will work to create a “toolbox” of sorts with ways to cope with the depression until treated.

What do you suggest for people suffering from depression? What do you suggest for their loved ones? Most people hesitate when they realize something is going on. Emotions are weird, our brains are sometimes fickle. Putting enough trust in someone else when depression is present — to reach out and say, “Hey, I need some help getting through this” — is a difficult thing to do. The most important thing to do is the thing that is often the hardest: reach out. And then keep reaching out, even though it’s difficult — to family, to your doctor, to a counselor, a trusted friend, your partner. Sharing our situation in a healthy and effective way can start chipping away at depression, its symptoms, and its grasp on our lives. For loved ones of someone with depression, it’s important to be supportive and not the “fixer.” A supportive loved one can ask questions that help you understand, as well as be willing to listen — even if you don’t know what to say.


Depression thrives on isolation, and your supportive presence can be a literal lifesaver. The most important element to remember in supporting a loved one with depression is to avoid being the “fixer” or “investigator.” Remember: this is really not about you. Questions such as “Why are you like this?”, “Why can’t you just cheer up?”, or “Aren’t you happy with me?” can really shut down communication. Statements such as “It’s all in your head,” or “Other people have it worse than you — you have no reason to be depressed” are equally unhelpful.

What do you wish more people knew about depression? I think it’s also helpful to mention that depression is not always apparent if you are “scanning” your friends and family. Some people that meet the criteria for depression can laugh, smile, go shopping, eat ice cream, and put up a really convincing front. It’s exhausting, and most likely a contributing factor in their flaking on plans, not returning that phone call or text, or disappearing from social media for a while.


SAMHSA National Helpline, 1.800.662.HELP (4357) 24/7/365 treatment referral resource

National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1.800.273.TALK (8255) 24/7/365 hotline for those experiencing suicidal thoughts

Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Multiple resources for coping with depression

Erika’s Lighthouse, Website regarding depression in teens and their parents

Psychology Today, Website with a local therapist directory, articles, and helpful information

Crisis Text Line,, or Text HOME to 741741 Free 24/7 support for crisis moments

Volunteers of America Care Crisis Response Services, 1.800.584.3578, Free 24/7 crisis emotional support

Eating Disorders

The most common are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. Restricting calories or food groups, compulsively exercising, binging, and/or purging are behaviors that can be a part of eating disorders; shame, guilt, and/or anxiety about food are common emotions that people with eating disorders may struggle with. Body image issues frequently play a role in the disorder as well.

DEFINITION: Any of several psychological disorders

(such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia) characterized by serious disturbances of eating behavior. – Merriam-Webster


IKE MANY MENTAL ILLNESSES, eating disorders are

surrounded by misconceptions and stigmas. One is that only women suffer from eating disorders. The truth is that anyone, regardless of their age, gender, sex, or background can suffer from an eating disorder. Another is that eating disorders are no big deal, since lots of people struggle with weight and body image issues. The truth is that eating disorders are serious, and that those who suffer from eating disorders face the highest mortality rates of any other mental illness. Not only can eating disorders lead to health issues like electrolyte imbalance, kidney failure, and heart attacks, but sufferers also have a higher risk for suicide. Thankfully, with proper treatment from doctors, therapists, and dieticians, many people recover from eating disorders and go on to lead a healthy life.

Q&A with Samantha Smith, LMHC, NCC, CDWF SAMANTHA SMITH is a

Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) in Bellingham, Washington. As a therapist, Smith works with adolescents, college students, and adults to uncover the truths of who they are in order to live a more wholehearted life. She helps clients who are struggling with a variety of issues including depression, trauma, eating disorders, anxiety, grief, abuse, shame, and difficult life transitions. She offers an eclectic approach to therapy, utilizing creative, emotionally-focused, cognitive, and bodybased techniques to address the unique struggle of each client.

What constitutes an eating disorder? There are technically a couple of different types of eating disorders, as well as what I could call disordered eating. According to the DSM-V (aka the mental health Bible), certain behaviors and symptoms meet the criteria for various eating disorders.

What are the most common signs of an eating disorder? Often, it is hard to spot an eating disorder, as there is a lot of secretive behavior that occurs. However, some signs that one might see could include a person not eating very much, going to the bathroom directly following a meal, eating a larger than typical amount of food in one sitting, cutting food into small pieces and moving it around his/her plate, or hiding food or food wrappers.

What may be less common/more surprising? It is not possible to look at a person’s body size to identify an eating disorder. People of all different sizes can have eating disorders and often, on the outside, the person might look totally normal or even like he/she is doing really well.

What causes eating disorders? A person can develop an eating disorder for a variety of reasons, though generally it is some sort of coping mechanism. In other words, eating disorders and wonky behaviors related to food are a way that people manage emotions and function in life. When people are anxious or lonely or sad, they may choose to eat or not eat as a way to distract from or not feel those emotions. Additionally, research shows that there is a genetic component to eating disorders that can be activated by dieting behaviors. I’ve heard it said, “Genetics loads the gun, and dieting pulls the trigger.”

What is the relationship, if any, between eating disorders, depression, and anxiety? Most of the people who struggle with eating disorders also struggle with depression and/or anxiety. In fact, as mentioned above, eating disorders can be a way that symptoms of depression and anxiety are masked or managed.

How do you typically treat someone with an eating disorder?

My approach is two-fold. Usually, what brings a person into my office is either their concern or someone else’s concern about symptoms and behaviors that are getting in the way of their everyday life (i.e. they are experiencing so much anxiety about the idea of eating that they can’t focus on school/work, they are binging “It took me a long time not and purging daily, etc.). I work with to judge myself through the client to incorporate different someone else’s eyes.” coping strategies in order to manage Sally Field these symptoms in order to find some stability in their day-to-day life. These

January 2020 53

Disease, Chronic Pain, & Injury

symptoms, however, are not coming from nowhere. They are meeting some sort of need, which is usually something going on underneath the surface that causes these behaviors to continue, despite the client not wanting them to (perhaps it’s previous trauma or a deep sense of unworthiness). Once there is some stability with symptoms, the client and I then work to process and find healing under the surface.

“It took me 16 years to admit those three words: I need help. As soon as I said those words, I knew that I was going to get better, and I was determined to get better.” Elton John

What do you suggest for people suffering from an eating disorder? What do you suggest for their loved ones? For people who may be struggling with an eating disorder, I would recommend you talk with someone you are close to about your struggles. Additionally, it would likely be beneficial to find a therapist and a dietician who can help you find some relief in the midst of your struggle. You don’t have to do it alone. For those who have a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder, I would recommend something very similar. It likely would be helpful to share about the challenge this is for you with someone close to you (not the person who has the eating disorder). It certainly couldn’t hurt for you, as well, to find a therapist who can help you as you support your loved one. A great place to start looking for a therapist is at You can also ask your primary care doctor, spiritual leader, or friends for recommendations.



we often focus on the body. However, if recent research has taught us anything, it’s that the body and mind are interconnected more than we ever thought. It’s no surprise, then, that physical illness, chronic pain, and injury often trigger psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. The problem only compounds when mental health is overshadowed by the more immediate or obvious demands of physical health. Conversely, mental health can also create or exacerbate the physical symptoms of disease, chronic pain, or injury.


Adults who suffer from depression are 64 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease.

About 33 percent of people who survive a heart attack suffer from depression.

Around 50 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease suffer from depression.

A third of people who have diabetes suffer from depression.

Anywhere from 40-70 percent of adult caregivers in the U.S. display symptoms of depression.

Source: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Q&A with Maureen Kane, MA, LMHCA RESOURCES

FLOURISH Food & Body in Bellingham Support for adults, children, and teens; eating disorder recovery, body image healing, nutrition therapy, workshops

Health at Every Size (HAES) Community,

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Offers a short screening quiz to help determine if you have an eating disorder

Maudsley Parents, A supportive organization of parents who follow the Maudsley approach, a family-based treatment approach for eating disorders


MAUREEN KANE is a Licensed

Mental Health Counselor in private practice in Bellingham WA, specializing in stress, anxiety, life changes, illness, caregiving, trauma, and career. Prior to being a therapist, Kane was a director or manager of social service agencies and corporations working in the areas of literacy, health care access, aging, homeless youth, and disability. Her practice information can be found at

What is the relationship between physical illness and mental illness? This is a tricky question. Often mental illness or emotional distress can manifest as physical illness. For example, anxiety

can be felt as stomach aches, heart palpitations, or vertigo. Depression can be felt as fatigue or pain. On the other hand, symptoms can be unrelated to emotional distress. I see a lot of clients who walk this fine line. The doctor can’t figure out why they are sick, so they blame themselves. Sometimes there is trauma or mental illness that, when explored, relieves symptoms, and sometimes it is a mystery. The part that can hurt people is when they blame themselves for “creating the illness.”

Are there certain types of illnes that result in greater mental health issues than other? I wouldn’t say that there are. Each person’s journey and pain are their own. Illness, disease, and pain create a struggle to do activities we could do previously when well. Confronting illness can challenge our identity, create anxiety about diagnosis and prognosis, and fuel worry about our friends’ and family’s ability to be supportive. Some physical issues can cause mental health issues for a while. For example, it’s common to have depression after a heart surgery or anesthesia. It’s also common to feel very anxious after a scary diagnosis. A loss of vitality can feel like depression and is often labeled as such, but it is a response to a physical change.

How do you typically treat clients who have a physical illness? Each person is an individual, so there is no one treatment. I do a lot of work with medical trauma, using EMDR or Lifespan Integration modalities. Surgeries, diagnoses, and medical appointments all have the potential for trauma. Clearing the trauma for the client and his or her family members can free up more energy for healing and coping. I work with people to cope with their treatment, reduce anxiety, and gain whatever control they have over their choices. Another place of opportunity is re-authoring our story of what illness means. How do we make meaning of it? What can we learn? Where have we grown? For a long time, people in my field studied post-traumatic stress. Only recently have we begun to recognize there is such a thing as post-traumatic growth. Many who have come through to the other side of a trauma find unexpected growth and gifts. They change their priorities, feel a greater appreciation for the value of life, develop new interests, know who they can count on, become more spiritual, or find they are stronger than they think they are, and can show up for others in a deeper and more authentic way.

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close

treatments. Prioritize the basics to stay well. This includes sleep, eating, exercise, hydration, and support. Also, scale back. Decide what is important to you and what you have the energy for. Practice becoming comfortable saying no, in service of saying yes to yourself and your healing.

What do you suggest for those whose loved ones are suffering from the psychological effects of illness or pain? Loved ones need support too. In fact, rough statistics show that 30 percent of caregivers die before those they are caring for, due to the stress. Loved ones may feel compassion, resentment, guilt, and fear. If the one who is sick is part of their support system, loved ones will need to expand their other avenues of support. It’s OK for loved ones to feel whatever they feel. Support groups are often helpful, as is counseling. Loved ones also need help to find time to care for themselves. They can easily get lost in the care of the ill one. Loved ones can also look into specific programs such as the Family Caregiver Support Program at Northwest Regional Council. Loved ones also need to prioritize the basics of sleep, eating, exercise, and hydration.


Well Spouse Association, 808.838.2225, Those caring for a spouse can find national and local support groups and an online chatroom

Family Caregiving Alliance, 800.445.8106 Offers support groups, information, and a list of services in each state

Eldercare Locator, 800.677.1116 Helps caregivers find local resources for transportation, respite care, and insurance counseling

Caregiver Action Network, 855.CARE.640, Caregivers can find educational materials, support, and information

Military and Veteran Caregiver Network, Network of support groups and mentorship for those caring for veterans

What do you suggest for people whose physical illness is affecting their mental health? I would suggest not isolating. Americans are taught not to rely on others, but the reality is that we need each other. Reach out to friends, family, church, crisis lines — whatever fits for you. It is surprising how many people want to help and how much people do understand. Therapists are a great source of support who can also provide helpful tools and

January 2020 55

of the






of the






ARE YOU IN PAIN? we can help, the Natural Way

Thank you to all our loyal clients for their continued support over the years, we are thrilled to be recognized year after year and could not do it without you!

• Body aches & Pain • Motor vehicle accidents • Old injuries • Work, sport and play • Headaches injuries

Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Mt Vernon, Anacortes, Everett, and Vancouver

360.671.1710 |


So you can be there for the next dance party. Pap every 3, 5 for HPV. Don’t wait, talk to your care provider today. Need a healthcare provider?


A special advertising section



Profiles Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties are fortunate to have a medical community dedicated to excellence. The men and women in these pages offer personal care and attention. Whether you’re seeking a holistic approach to medicine or cutting-edge surgery, we are pleased to introduce you to these select medical professionals.

January 2020


Health & Medical Profiles

Pacific Rim Orthopaedic Surgeons We are the Better, Quicker, Cheaper orthopedic option in Bellingham.

Quicker: did you know that we are scheduling most patients within 7–10 days?

Dr. Jason Dahl • Fellowship in Hand Surgery • Upper extremity specialist – all “fingertip to elbow” concerns, elbow joint replacements, etc. • Inpatient and outpatient surgery privileges.

We pride ourselves on being available to our patients. We can often schedule new and returning patients within 7–10 days. Sooner, if the need is more urgent.

Cheaper? We are independent and locally owned. As your locally owned, independent orthopaedic practice in town, we have more direct control over our costs and expenses. That translates into more control over the costs that our allocated down the line to our patients.

Dr. Michael Gannon • General Orthopedic & Sports Medicine specialist: treats nearly all orthopaedic conditions. • Joint Replacements: Knees and Hips. • Inpatient and outpatient surgery privileges.

Better! More options and more 5-Star reviews. One example of how we are better is that we offer more options — like outpatient joint replacement. This is a great joint replacement alternative for some patients: they receive personalized one-on-one care at the surgery center (including your own room and personal nurse); and depending on their insurance, it can be much less expensive than having inpatient joint replacement surgery. And check out our Google reviews! We’re rated 4.8 Stars and have over 200 total reviews!

Dr. Michael Thorpe • Joint Replacements – specializes in Outpatient Totals and Partials • General Orthopedic & Sports Medicine specialist: treats nearly all orthopaedic conditions. • WWU Team Physician. • Outpatient surgery specialist and privileges.

Dr. Christopher Van Hofwegen • Fellowship in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine • Sports Medicine specialist, Shoulder specialist, Hip Labrum repair specialist. • General Orthopedics – also treats nearly all orthopaedic conditions, including Joint Replacements. • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections • Bellingham Bells, Bellingham Blazers, Bellingham United Team Physician.

Pacific Rim Orthopaedic Surgeons 2979 Squalicum Parkway #203, Bellingham 360.733.7670 | Facebook @pacficrimorthopedic

• Inpatient and outpatient surgery privileges.

Physician Assistants: Frazier Coe, PA-C, and Alex Tabayoyon, PA-C


Health & Medical Profiles So you’ve got shoulder pain? Chances are strong that if you are reading this article with at least feigned interest on a printed, nonelectronic medium, that you were born prior to 1970. If that’s the case, your shoulder pain probably came on without any significant accident, most likely a small action that you have done loads of times before which never bothered before this one time. Maybe you reached out for a pitcher of something or put an item on an upper shelf. Or maybe you just tried to put on your seatbelt. Maybe you didn’t do anything at all and simply woke up one day with pain that wouldn’t go away. I’d bet now you have a hard time raising your arm, and if you are considering going to a doctor, you’re likely having a hard time sleeping. Nobody wants to see the doctor after all, and it takes something dramatic to drive you there. If this scenario describes you, you probably have rotator cuff dysfunction. Rotator cuff dysfunction is a spectrum of disease really, ranging from rotator cuff bursitis all the way to something called rotator cuff arthropathy. Let’s start with the least and make our way to the worst. Impingement is the very least in the way of rotator cuff dysfunction. Basically, it implies that there is a movement issue with the shoulder, which is causing the cuff to rub on the undersurface of its bony covering called the acromion. Imagine rubbing your skin so much that it got red, and then continuing to rub the skin raw. That’s a little like impingement. The solution of choice is the common sense one…stop the irritating rubbing. That is the equivalent to physical therapy. Once you get the shoulder movements corrected, your rotator cuff should stop hurting. Bursitis is commonly diagnosed by healthcare providers, but believe it or not, it isn’t well understood. Since the word ends in “itis”, it should imply underlying inflammation. However, there aren’t actually any studies that show true inflammation. In any case, we still call it bursitis for historical reasons and because sometimes the bursa is thickened which can cause a painful snapping. Again, the mainstays of treatment focus on correcting movement abnormalities in physical therapy. Pain is treated orally with things like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ideally one does not need a steroid injection. Rotator cuff tendinosis is a condition that implies degeneration without any indication of rotator cuff tear on imaging studies such as ultrasound or MRI. Pain tends to start in the shoulder area and radiate down the lateral arm to the level of the elbow. Pain can be unremitting and sometimes be the cause of “breakaway” weakness, which is painful weakness that can be overcome if one really wants or needs to. Treatment is nonoperative. Surgery is not the solution here. From there we move to rotator cuff tears, which come in multiple flavors. There are two important distinctions to make: 1) partial or full thickness, 2) traumatic or atraumatic. For the purposes of this discussion, we have assumed an atraumatic tear, which leads to one algorithm of treatment versus a traumatic tear, which leads to surgery. Assuming an atraumatic tear, the

Dr. Christopher Van Hofwegen first treatments should be nonsurgical again, but if those don’t work, one may need a rotator cuff repair. Sometimes rotator cuff tears are unrepairable, but there are some relatively newer procedures like a superior capsular reconstruction that might relieve pain. The most severe kind of rotator cuff issue is actually a special kind of arthritis associated with not having a rotator cuff around for a long time. The symptoms are all those listed before but usually worse. In this case the pain is crunchy, and the weakness is profound. Sometimes patients can’t lift their arms at all. The ultimate solution for cuff tear arthropathy is a specific joint replacement called a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. Unfortunately, because the rotator cuff has been gone for too long and the cartilage surface of the joint has been destroyed, a primary repair of the tendon is neither possible nor beneficial. If any of this sounds familiar to you, you may want to give your doctor a call or start some physical therapy. If you feel more independent, checking into rotator cuff rehabilitation on the internet may be a good idea. But if none of that works and your life is starting to center around shoulder pain, come on in, and we will do our best to get you fixed up.

Pacific Rim Orthopaedic Surgeons 2979 Squalicum Parkway #203, Bellingham 360.733.7670 Facebook @pacficrimorthopedic

January 2020


Health & Medical Profiles

Cascade Hypnosis Center At Cascade Hypnosis Center we help people every day do amazing things that have lasting results. Hypnosis works even when everything else has failed. Schedule your complimentary consultation now to learn how hypnosis can help you.

We help people: • Lose Weight • Stop Smoking • Reduce Stress and Anxiety • Improve Motivation, SelfConfidence, and Self-Esteem • Improve Relationships • Remove Unwanted Fears and Behaviors • Overcome money blocks and increase vision, confidence and clarity to provide massive business growth for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Our mission is to provide compassionate and professional hypnotherapy services that are customized for each individual client. We love helping you be your best. Complimentary consultations offered daily. Call us now —  you’ll be glad you did. “My experience with Erika changed my view on hypnosis and I felt a significant difference after just one session with her. The experience was powerful. You will love working with her.” — Client Testimonial

Shannon Wallace, Certified Hypnotherapist

• Pain Relief • With other issues as well, including working with Kids and Teens

Erika Flint, CEO, Cascade Hypnosis Center, Board Certified Hypnotist and Accredited Certified Professional Hypnotherapy Instructor

Cascade Hypnosis Center

For Training & Services

103 East Holly St., Ste. B1, Bellingham 360.392.8723,

Still Life Massage and Float We are a family run Wellness Clinic, with a strong foundation in Medical Massage, with the added benefit of Float Therapy. Our Clinic’s primary focus is assisting clients in reducing stress and feeling revitalized!

What is Float Therapy? Effortlessly floating in skin temperature water and 1200 pounds of Epsom salt will give your body a break from gravity’s hold, the nothingness of that experience is everything and more. The lack of stimulation allows the occupied parts of your mind and body to completely let go. And there’s no wrong way to float. Keep the lights off or turn them on; listen to music or float in silence. Leave immediately or hang out afterward in the Lounge. Hold your stillness any way you like.

What sets our Massage Services apart? Our massage therapists specialize in injury treatment, such as motor vehicle accidents and on-the-job injury, and we also offer support for managing chronic conditions. We understand the diverse needs of each client and in honoring that, we strive to match you to the perfect therapist to meet your needs based on the many skills of each provider.

19 Bellwether Way #101 Bellingham, WA 98225 360.647.2805 Open M-F 8:30am-7pm, Sat & Sun 9:30am-4pm


Health & Medical Profiles

Ferndale Family Dental 5 Ways to Improve Your Smile Before Sitting in the Dental Chair


ow important is your smile to you? Some people view smiling as simply a natural response to things that bring us joy and happiness, but the act of smiling can do so much more. It can help build relationships, land a job, and even improve overall health and well-being. If a smile can do so much, doesn’t it make sense to take care of it or even improve it? While the dental profession is better known for bringing out a person’s smile in the dental chair, I think it behooves me to say that there are things that can be done outside of the dental office to help bring out your smile. Here are some things I recommend:

Maintain proper daily oral hygiene Brushing and flossing is still at the top of the list. Flossing daily and brushing at least twice daily can immediately improve your smile.1 Cleaning off food and debris we collect daily is healthy for both teeth and gums. Good oral hygiene can make a positive impact on the esthetics of a smile.

Keep up with overall health Proper diet and exercise can improve the health of the gums by lowering the amount of inflammation in the body.2,3 Both gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease) are forms of inflammation that affect the gums and bones that support teeth. Foods containing high amounts of calcium and phosphorus and beverages that have low or no sugar can protect your teeth.4

Do your homework before choosing over the counter and DIY dental products There are so many things out there that claim to improve your smile; I’m going to touch on two of them: Teeth whitening products: Most over-the-counter whitening products will work and eventually get you to your whitest smile. It’s really a matter of how long you’re willing to work with the system to get your teeth to its whitest. Most products can cause sensitivity, so look into using sensitivity toothpastes while whitening your teeth. Do-it-yourself teeth aligners: These product aim to deliver professional results at a fraction of the time and cost, but the tradeoff may have more disadvantages. Unsupervised tooth movement can cause damage to the gum, bones, and the roots of the teeth, and the new position of the teeth can result in a bite that’s more damaging to the teeth over time. Save yourself the future worry and get an expert to weigh in on it.

Exercise your smile muscles everyday As we age, we show less of our top teeth and more of our bottom teeth. Exercising our smile muscles to show the right amounts of top and bottom teeth can bring out a youthful smile.

Keep a positive outlook Some of my patients and team members can verify me saying this, “You don’t need dental work. What you need is a vacation.” In most cases, people welcome this statement. I am in no way downplaying what patients come to see us for or the dental services we provide; but over the years, I’ve met people with very good dental health that still have concerns. After a good bit of discussion and helping patients become more familiar with their own dental conditions, the patients and I discover together that little to no treatment is needed. What I learned from these experiences is that sometimes the best treatment is simply to understand and own the good things you already have. So what about your smile? I love what Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” Well, whether you think you have that smile, or you think you don’t — you’re right. None of the aforementioned ways to improve your smile can happen without you first believing that you have it. I truly believe that we all have a beautiful smile that makes each of us unique. So own it! I hope these tips can help you discover your smile. And, whenever you need that extra help in bringing the best out of your smile and your dental health, call our office. Let us be your partner in keeping your smile for life.

Ferndale Family Dental

1. 2. 3. 4.

Michael Sacro, D.D.S., Ferndale Family Dental 6004-A Portal Way, Ferndale 360.384.3440

January 2020


Health & Medical Profiles Whatcom Eye Surgeons Whatcom Eye Surgeons works with your family eye care provider to determine the best treatment for your eyes. We encourage you to consult first with your eye doctor, who can provide information, discuss options and recommend a medical or surgical consultation with us, if appropriate. Our experienced, local team practices comprehensive ophthalmology, and includes:

Kristi Bailey, MD A graduate of Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Bailey engages patients with her bright energy and expertise in cataract surgery and medical retinal disease. She completed her ophthalmology training at Casey Eye Institute.

Ingrid Carlson, MD Dr. Carlson specializes in pediatric ophthalmology, strabismus and eyelid surgery. She delights in helping people see and her enthusiasm energizes staff and patients alike. She is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Emily Freeman, OD, MS, FAAO Dr. Freeman’s thorough and caring approach helps patients understand their conditions. She provides medical eyecare as a member of our glaucoma team. She is a graduate of the State University of New York College of Optometry, and holds a Master’s degree in Vision Science.

Leigh Gongaware, OD, MS Dr. Gongaware’s communication and compassion demonstrate her dedication to her patients’ vision health. She provides comprehensive

pre- and postoperative care. Dr. Gongaware is a graduate of the Pacific University College of Optometry, with a Master's in Vision Science.

Aaron Kuzin, MD Dr. Kuzin practices cataract, glaucoma and anterior segment surgery. With warmth and caring, he encourages patients’ understanding and participation in their treatment. Dr. Kuzin completed his medical training at Harvard Medical School and the University of Southern California/Doheny Eye Institute.

Medical and Surgical Eye Care: ■■





Medical Retina






Eyelid Surgery

Daniel Nolan, OD Dr. Nolan treats ocular disease and provides pre- and postoperative care for our cataract teams. He engages patients through open conversation to work together toward vision goals. He graduated from the University of Houston College of Optometry, and trained at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Justin Wright, OD Dr. Wright provides medical eye care with specific interests in ocular disease and strabismus. Patients find comfort in his thoroughness and easy-going style. He trained at Pacific University College of Optometry, The Eye Institute of Utah and Moran Eye Center.

Whatcom Eye Surgeons 2075 Barkley Blvd., #205 Bellingham, WA 98226 360.676.6233 Hours: 8–5, Monday–Friday

Local Doctors Serving Whatcom County since 2007

January 2020


Your Health. Your Community. Your Lab.


of all healthcare decisions made by medical providers rely on accurate, timely and comprehensive laboratory results.

Visit one of our convenient Draw Station Locations

Main Laboratory & Draw Station 3548 Meridian St, Suite 101 Bellingham, WA 98225

Northwest Laboratory is a local, pathologist owned laboratory. Our mission is to provide patient focused care with the utmost integrity while enhancing our community and personal relationships. Our laboratory team members are your friends and neighbors. They include experienced pathologists, highly skilled medical technologists, managers, supervisors, phlebotomists, couriers and support services personnel. With state-of-the-art equipment, our teams quickly and accurately perform all types of laboratory testing: hematology, chemistry, microbiology, women’s health & molecular testing. Providing these tests in our Bellingham location enables us to send test results to medical providers quickly and helps improve patient care.

Draw Station Hours: Monday - Friday 6:00 AM - 7:00 PM Saturday 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM Fairhaven Draw Station 3115 Old Fairhaven Parkway Bellingham, WA 98225 Draw Station Open: Monday - Friday

Your Health. Your Community. Your Lab. NO RT H W E ST L AB O R ATO RY • (360) 527-4 580 • (8 66) 750-1028

Health & Medical Profiles

What exactly do you do? Northwest Laboratory is a new state-of-the-art medical testing laboratory in Bellingham. We have dedicated and highly skilled local Medical Technologists who perform the testing and experienced Lab Assistants who perform blood draws. These tests provide the essential information that physicians require to ensure the best care for their patients. Additionally, our Lab Medical Director and pathologist team are available for provider consultation.

Why is laboratory testing important? It is estimated that 70% of medical decisions rely on the results of laboratory testing. Sophisticated instruments measure blood counts, proteins, antibodies, electrolytes, drug levels, hormones and test for a large variety of infectious agents. Doctors rely on rapid and accurate results to narrow their diagnostic evaluations and to determine the best course of treatment. Laboratory tests are also used to monitor progress after instituting therapy.

What can people/patients do to make a blood draw easier or more comfortable? We want patients to be as comfortable as possible during the blood collection. Let our team know if there is a fear or concern about the blood draw. Our Lab Assistants have many years of experience working with patients of all ages and backgrounds. Our main location has a treatment room available that can serve as a quiet place for pediatric draws and for more sensitive patients. Drink plenty of water — hydrating helps plump up veins.

Where do your patients go for testing? Our main draw station and laboratory is located at 3548 Meridian Street, Suite 101. To accommodate customer/ client schedules, our main location is open extended hours Monday through Friday and on Saturdays. We also have a draw site conveniently located just off I-5 in Fairhaven, at 3115 Old Fairhaven Parkway. Our Fairhaven location is open Monday through Friday. NW Laboratory is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis. No appointments are needed. Come see us!

January 2020



Cannabis Listings

Smoking Crow

4264 Pacific Hwy, Bellingham 360.922.0709

At Smoking Crow, we believe in the power found amongst community. Our purpose is simple: we work together, as a passionate team, to consistently supply the highest quality products in an atmosphere that feels like home. We focus on education and quality, making a positive impact that starts at the local level. We are here to do what we love and share it with our neighbors, so we may all find freedom at new heights.*

Trove Cannabis

218 N. Samish Way, Bellingham 360.393.3459

We offer a wide collection of marijuana that’s carefully curated and showcased with the promise of making your shopping experience easy, exciting, and fun! With our everyday low prices, we’re sure to have something for everyone. You’re going to have a great time! Open every day 8am–11:45pm*

*This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children. January 2020 69


Premier Recreational Cannabis


100 E. Maple St., Bellingham 360.746.8478

4220 Meridian St., Ste. 102, Bellingham 360.526.2198,

Visit Satori MJ! We have certified Medical consultants to answer any question you may have. A generous rewards program, weekly sales and friendly & knowledgeable budtenders. Free customer parking, restrooms & ATM on site! Plus, vegan & gluten free edibles!*

PRC Premier Recreational Cannabis is Skagit County’s premier cannabis destination! PRC Cannabis always has the finest selection at the lowest prices! Open seven days a week, with two convenient locations in Mount Vernon and Arlington. Order online at*

Green Leaf

West Coast Wellness

Green Leaf Recreational is a Bellingham cannabis store that carries everything from smoking accessories to infused products. Our professional budtenders have incredible knowledge when it comes to recreational marijuana. Daily deals. Veteran and senior discounts available.*

Located just East of Bellingham, WCW offers a comfortable environment where you can indulge in an exploration of cannabis and get your medical marijuana questions answered. From pain management to digestion and mental well being, our certified medical consultants can guide you in the right direction.*

2020 Cannabis Solutions

5655 Guide Meridian 2018 Iron Street 4770 Pacific Highway 360.734.2020

18729 Fir Island Rd., Mount Vernon 360.445.6221 5200 172nd St. NE, Ste. 101, Arlington 360.550.9333

Voted “BEST Cannabis Shop” five years running, 2020 Cannabis Solutions has three Bellingham locations. Their passionate team delivers an exceptional guest experience and Whatcom County’s widest variety of cannabis and CBD products. Your best cannabis experience begins here!*

3708 Mt Baker Hwy, Everson 360.392.8309

Sweet Relief Cannabis Sweet Relief Cannabis is the best recreational and medical store in Skagit Valley. Daily specials, Veteran discounts, expert budtenders, and top shelf cannabis. Whether you’re 14637 State Route 20, a loyal customer or just visiting the Mount Vernon San Juan’s, we love serving your 360.588.2250 cannabis needs!*

*This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children. 70

This product has intoxicating eects and may be habit forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the inuence of this drug. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of the reach of children.


entist show off your “canines”


Puppy Flip

Sehome Professional Center 405 32nd Street, Suite 100, Bellingham | 360.715.3333


Jack & Michelle Johnson

When it comes to servicing and repairing your garage doors and openers, no one does it better than Overhead Door. No matter what brand or model... from simple tune-ups and repairs to full replacement and the experts at Overhead Door to get the job done right – right away. 202 Ohio St., Bellingham, WA | (360) 734-5960 |

Good Earth Pottery 76 Sorority Transformation 77 Necessities: Blankets 78


Photo © Radley Muller Photography

Featured Home

Shaw Island Timber Frame Home


January 2020 73

Home  Featured Home

Shaw Island Timber Frame Home BY DAVE BROGAN


ET ON IDYLLIC SHAW ISLAND, snuggled among the trees, this finely detailed timber frame home really captures the imagination. As with many Pacific Northwest contemporary homes, it masterfully blends a clean, simple, even minimalist aesthetic with warmth from the naturally finished wood throughout. Even the home’s traditional timber-frame-style skeleton and Douglas Fir tongue-and-groove ceilings give a nod to modern times by using glue-laminated posts and beams. As owner-builders, the homeowners chose our knowledgeable and experienced team of craftspeople to help them build their dream home. The timber frame raising and subsequent building shell construction was great fun. Nearing the end of the project, there was even more excitement in our shop as we set up the jigs to put together the solid maple stairs. The home finished out beautifully and, with its intentional use of glass walls, provides a comfortable space that feels like you are perched on a branch in the forest. 

Builder  Bellingham Bay Builders Architect  Brad Cameron, Level Design Photographer  C9 Photography


January 2020 75

Home  Local Find

Helping Local Artists Find Their Voice Good Earth Pottery



offers an exciting twist on local creations. Throughout its 50 years of varied ownership, the Fairhaven shop has continually represented more than 40 juried local artists at any given time. “When the previous owners of Good Earth Pottery decided to retire, it felt only natural to become the new owner of the gallery which had become my home, to keep it going and growing,” owner Ann Marie Cooper says. Cooper says every piece of pottery is one of a kind. The store also features locally made ceramics, jewelry, art cards, and soaps. “I love helping someone find that perfect mug, or a gift for a loved one that will remind the recipient of the 76

giver every time that item comes out of the cupboard,” Cooper says. “I also feel honored to help support these local makers of functional and decorative art objects which enhance the lives of others.” Each month, Good Earth Pottery features a different artist by promoting their work alongside a short bio online. The store also hosts a meet-the-artist event during Fairhaven’s Fourth Friday Art Walks. “Since we represent so many artists, we like to give all the artists a chance for the spotlight, so we rotate through different featured artists every year,” Cooper says. “We also feature several themed and juried group shows a year, including artists from outside our normal 80 mile jurying radius — to add a little extra spice to the mix.”

Although she was always a creative person, Cooper didn’t start out working with pottery. It wasn’t until she began working at Good Earth Pottery that she found the love of working with the pottery wheel. “Once I put my hands into clay, there was no turning back — I’d found my true creative voice, and a community that I love,” Cooper says. For those looking to start making pottery, Cooper says don’t give up just because it’s harder than it looks. “The difficult moments make the triumphs all the more satisfying. Also, be prepared to get hooked,” Cooper says. “Find your voice. Make what speaks to you and it will speak to others.” 1000 Harris Ave., Bellingham, 360.671.3998, 

Photos by Tyler Kendig


Remodel  Home

A Formal Sorority Transformation BY TANNA EDLER

Photos by Keith Mason


APPA DELTA SORORITY on the University of

Washington campus was in need of a formal living room makeover. In addition to remodeling this vast space prior to recruitment in three months, we were also faced with making this century-old colonial structure appeal to and fit the demands of the active college woman’s lifestyle, without compromising the room’s sense of tradition. On top of this, we wanted to make sure it stood out from the 18 other sororities on campus! Compared to designing a typical single-family home meant for four to eight people, this project required us to create a space that could accommodate 130 members and thousands of alumni! Every specification we considered had to be quadrupled: the space’s durability, longevity, accessibility, sustainability, and so on. During the planning phase, our project “war room” was covered in extra-large sticky notes with captions like: “comfortable yet stately,” “current and contemporary,” “sturdy but easy to move,” “traditional yet modern,”

“tasteful plus youthful,” “timeless and not too trendy.” There was also an entire whiteboard that read: “MUST appeal to all ages, 18 to 88!” Similar to a residential living room, we wanted to create a space that would comfortably welcome guests. In addition, we wanted to integrate numerous seating arrangements to allow for multiple conversations in a single space. Unlike our common living room concept, we purchased most of the furnishing pieces in pairs and installed custom glides for ease of movement during study group sessions and daily chapter business. The lifestyle design approach, which we apply to every type of project, helped us to better understand the need for high-performance fabrics, durable flooring, stone surfaces, hospitality art hooks, and faux greenery. We coined this look “Historical KD Chic,” giving a nod to the tradition of Kappa Delta while adding a fresh, youthful update and providing a long-term, timeless solution able to withstand the rigors of college life.  January 2020 77

Home  Necessities


2 3

4 78


Blanket Statement BY LINDSEY MAJOR



and the temperatures continue to drop, it can be hard to get out of bed or move away from the couch. Luckily, National Cuddle Up Day is January 6, which means you have an excuse to stay tucked in. Enjoy your cozy post-holiday time with some snuggles from your loved ones under these cozy blankets, all sourced from local stores. Hot chocolate not included, but highly recommended.

1 2 3 4 5


Get past difficult, emotional experiences and feel better!

Hypnosis works even when everything else has failed.

Free Consultations • Private & Confidential Board Certified Hypnotherapist Kathie Hardy RN MS MBA BCH 360.842.6600 Bellingham Towers 119 N. Commercial, Ste 195

Tapestry-Style Reversible Blanket $210, Three French Hens, Fairhaven

Mexican-Style Blanket $25, Fringe Boutique, Bellingham


Fluffy Buffalo-Print Blanket


$29, Yeager’s Sporting Goods, Bellingham


Wool Pendleton Blanket $100, 1 Paperboat, Fairhaven

Gray and White Plaid Blanket $25, Petals + Blooms, Ferndale

We measure

success differently.


believe that a vibrant business supports the personal development of the workers.


believe in democratic decisionmaking and a fair distribution of profits.


a complete list of our guiding principles please visit our website.

We support and admire the courage it takes to question assumptions.

We believe in working with community

members to create a shared prosperity, a healthy local environment, and strong community orginizations.


January 2020 79


Chuckanut Manor 82 Thousand Acre Cider House 88 5 Faves: Acaí Bowls 90

Photo by Lindsey Major


Just Poke


86 January 2020 81

Taste  Review

Crab Cakes


Chuckanut Manor A Historic Culinary Roadhouse Tradition BY LARA DUNNING


RIGINALLY BUILT AS A RESIDENCE, Chuckanut Manor has welcomed diners for more than 50 years. Visitors savor Pacific Northwest fare as well as views from one of the most scenic drives in Western Washington. In 2019, seasoned restaurateur Meagan Pickett became the third owner; she plans to maintain the manor’s historic charm, culinary traditions, and warm hospitality. “Customer service is everything,” says Pickett. “I want everyone to come as they are, whether they are a hiker or on a date, to enjoy good food and the amazing view.” Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, including a daily happy hour from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., the restaurant features an expansive upscale dining room with white tablecloths, nautical decor, local artwork, and windows that show off the stellar Samish Bay view. There is also a more casual bar, an additional event space, and a seasonal outdoor patio. If possible, arrive around sunset; you won’t be disappointed. The food is delicious, especially if you’re a lover of seafood. Known for their fresh oysters, Chuckanut Manor 82

Wild Salmon

serves them raw ($3 to $3.50 each). You can also find them in the Manor Rockefeller, a signature dish featuring four broiled Blau’s Samish Bay Pacific Oysters topped with hollandaise, spinach, and bacon. For appetizers, the Arancini ($14) turned out to be my favorite. It comes with risotto cakes made with root vegetables, Samish Bay vache, Romesco, and crispy shaved sweet potato. The Crab Cakes ($19) are packed with crab meat and the cucumber pico de gallo and cumin slaw give each bite a delightful crunch. For entrées, the Halibut & Chips (market price) comes out crispy and tender with a side of delectable fries and homemade tartar sauce. The Wild Salmon ($32) has a pleasing presentation with juicy wild salmon set atop an earthy farro cake surrounded by sweet butternut squash and beurre rose. For those interested in staying overnight, The Flat at Chuckanut Manor boasts a two-bedroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchen and stunning views. 3056 Chuckanut Dr., Bow, 360.766.6191, 

Dining Guide Taste

DINING KEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . up to $9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10–19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20–29 . . . . . . . $30 or greater . . . . . . . . . . . . . Breakfast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dinner . . . . . . . . . .Family-Friendly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Takeout . . . . . . . . Outdoor Seating   . . . . . . . . . . Reservations   . . . . . . . . . . . Happy Hour . . . . . . . . . . . New Review Menu items and prices are subject to change, so check before you go. See all our restaurant reviews on our Eat and Drink tab at  * Review provided by restaurant.


COSMOS BISTRO American Bistro, Comfort


4192 Meridian St., Bellingham 360.306.8598, The Birch Door Cafe does not fall short on charm, variety, or serving size. Brunch enthusiasts will be delighted by the three pages of breakfast options. Dishes include traditional pancake breakfast platters, French-style baked omelets, egg scrambles and Benedicts, and plenty more. Listen for the ringing of the kitchen bell every time one of these massive breakfasts is served.

11TH HOUR TEA & COFFEE BAR Tea, Coffee 833 N. State St., Bellingham 360.788.4229, 11th Hour Tea & Coffee Bar has an extensive menu of drinks around $3–5, with a variety of teas, golden milks, tea lattes, superfood lattes, and a full line of espresso items. The intimate space is cozy and encourages conversation between friends and strangers alike. The energy, menu, and location attract everyone from college students and families to healthminded folks.   BANTAM 46 American, Southern 1327 Railroad Ave., Bellingham 360.788.4507, A bantam is a type of small chicken. At Bellingham’s newest southern-inspired chicken rotisserie, you get what the name promises. The Buttermilk Fried Chicken has breading that’s thick, crispy, and — somehow — not greasy at all. While the downstairs is family-friendly, the upstairs is reserved for those 21 and older.

The comfort food at Cosmos is always made in-house from scratch at their historic Herald Building location. With award-winning service, plates brimming with creativity for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, Cosmos Bistro offers something for everyone.



1317 W. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham 360.746.2030,

1211 11th St., Bellingham 360.676.1011,

Bellingham has an abundance of Asianinspired restaurants; the trick is to find one that stands out — like the Black Pearl. With all the available extras, it is almost impossible to get the same flavor twice. The pho is clean and refreshing with a variety of different meats to try and sauces to add as extra seasoning.

The “dirt” on Dirty Dan Harris? In a word: excellent. The steakhouse provides a warm atmosphere, friendly waitstaff, quaint historic surroundings, and superb food. Perhaps the best reflection on the restaurant is owner Kathy Papadakis’ waitstaff. Most have worked here for years — and it shows in their enthusiasm for your dining experience. Make sure to leave room for dessert, because the selections are dangerously good.

CAFE VELO Coffeehouse, Deli 120 Prospect St., Bellingham 360.392.0930,


1151 N. State St., Bellingham 360.255.0244, bellinghamcosmosbistro. com

Cafe Velo is a European-inspired cafe with a twist — in addition to serving fresh espresso, the cafe also doubles as a bike shop. With plenty of outdoor seating — and bike racks — customers can bask in the fresh air while enjoying a beverage or sandwich named after one of the owner’s favorite climbs from bicycle racing. This is more than just a place to quickly grab a bite; it’s a place to build community.


Seafood, Regional NW

685 Peace Portal Dr., Blaine 360.656.5958, A board inside Drayton Harbor Oyster Company tracks when the last oyster delivery was made and how long it takes the oysters to get from the ocean to the kitchen. The record? 13 minutes. This level of freshness means oysters so good that people come from all over the globe to taste them. The intimate, casual setting will make you feel like you’re at a friend’s house.


10459 Mount Baker Hwy., Glacier 360.599.2511,


After a long day skiing or snowboarding from Mount Baker Ski Area’s eight chairlifts, Chair 9 is tailor-made for those seeking a place to grab a bite before heading back down the highway. The building is spacious, with two stories of seating and a colorful variety of snowboards decorating the wall. Their pizza is crafted on house-made artisan dough and cooked classically in a wood stone oven. The restaurant’s relaxed atmosphere and delicious menu make it a destination to try on your next trip to the slopes.

1138 Finnegan Way, Bellingham 360.715.1839 716 Alabama St., Bellingham 360.746.2079, The 1950s vibe resonates within the walls of this all-American burger joint. From the antique gas pump to the car memorabilia lining the restaurant, The Filling Station is Fairhaven’s newest go-to spot to satisfy your hunger. With names like Chevy Pickup, Mustang, and Thunderbird, the menu provides different burger selections along with appetizers like Dip Sticks (deep-fried zucchini strips), Hot Rod (footlong hot dog), or the Junkyard (classic, onion, and tire fries).

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Taste  Spotlight

Western Professor Pens Book on Wise Eating BY BECKY MANDELBAUM


R. GIGI BERARDI, a professor

at Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, first started writing her new book, “FoodWISE: A Whole Systems Guide to Sustainable and Delicious Food Choices,” about 10 years ago. “I had a few quarters of professional leave, and I wanted to write a book that was part memoir, part history of food, part beliefs about food,” Berardi says. Her main inspirations were her students, friends, family, and anyone with what Berardi terms “fierce food beliefs.” “We live in a culture awash with advice about nutrition and eating. Who do we believe, how do we sort through the conflicting information, and in the end, how do we decide for ourselves what we buy, cook, and eat? Addressing these questions was my motivation for the book.” In “FoodWISE,” Berardi explores various diets and ways of choosing food, and seeks to offer a simpler method. “WISE is an acronym: whole, informed, sustainable, experienced — and it’s meant to help guide our decisions about food,” Berardi explains. Although the book offers recipes and guidance on how to select

wholesome, nutritious foods, those seeking a traditional dieting book may want to look somewhere else. “I try not to use the word ‘healthy’ in the book,” Berardi says. “It’s just too loaded a term. For many, it translates into ‘lowfat,’ and that’s not what the book is about … it’s a book on how to sort through all the conflicting information that’s out there.” The book has received rave reviews from food journalists, executive chefs, and scientists alike. In September, Forbes published an article listing “FoodWISE” among 19 food-related books recommended by a think tank. “Support for the book has been really heartening,” Berardi says. To celebrate the book’s launch date, Berardi will read at the downtown Community Food Co-op on January 14 at 6:30 p.m. Additional readings and events will continue into the spring, at Twin Sisters Brewing Company, Village Books in Fairhaven, and at Nicki’s Bella Marina for a talk with Whatcom Writers and Publishers. To get an idea of what you’ll find in “FoodWISE,” here’s one of the author’s favorite recipes:

MARINATED SALMON Prep time: 1 hour Serves 4 You’ll notice that each of the five species of Pacific salmon goes by at least two common names. A typical whole fillet might be about 1–1½ pounds, or more if the species of salmon is larger. A king/chinook is larger than a coho/ silver, which typically is bigger than a red/sockeye salmon — and their fillets will be correspondingly different in size. If the fish are harvested and handled well, the less fatty (and less expensive) fish like chum/keta and pinks/


humpies are a good Whole, Informed, Sustainable — and affordable — choice. I like to use marinades for fish, but depending on how fresh and flavorful the fish is, you may want to omit them. Here’s a favorite marinated salmon recipe, cooked en papillote (in paper) to effectively steam the fish.

Equipment A large mixing bowl, one large-sized baking dish, parchment paper

Ingredients 2 medium lemons, juiced (about 4 tbsp) ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar ¼ cup melted butter ¼ tsp cayenne pepper 2 tbsp dill weed 2 8-oz salmon fillets, rinsed (with skin) Salt and black pepper, to taste Additional herbs, for cooking: fresh rosemary and sage sprigs (or ½ tsp each, dried)

Preparation Mix all ingredients (lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, melted butter, cayenne pepper, and dill weed) except additional herbs in a large mixing bowl. • Add fillets and marinate for 30 minutes, turning at least once. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. • Remove fillets from marinade and place skin side down onto parchment paper in a clean baking dish. • Sprinkle fish with salt, pepper, rosemary, and sage. • Bring up the sides of the parchment paper; I wrap the fish by simply folding it over the fish and tucking under any loose ends. • Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when the meat flakes.  From “FoodWISE” by Gigi Berardi, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2020 by Gigi Berardi. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

Dining Guide Taste FIRESIDE MARTINI & WINE BAR Eclectic, Bar

416 W. Bakerview Rd., Bellingham 360.738.1000, Fireside is out to make a name for itself. Their menu changes on an almost daily basis and uses only fresh, local ingredients. Cocktails are based on in-house infusions of spirits, a collection found only at Fireside, and their beer options range from local to obscure to international.   GRAHAM’S RESTAURANT American 9989 Mount Baker Hwy., Glacier 360.599.9883 Graham’s Restaurant is the classic, rustic stop for a good burger and brew in Glacier, especially for hungry travelers. Built in 1904, the building represents a long-gone era in the Mount Baker wilderness. Connected to an oldtimey grocery store, the cabin-like restaurant is made complete by black-and-white photos of the cast from the 1935 film “Call of the Wild,” starring Clark Gable and Loretta Young, warming their hands over the little stove oven which still sits there today.   HOMESKILLET American 521 Kentucky St., Bellingham Owners Tina and Kirby named their restaurant after one of their favorite lines in the movie Juno, when a store clerk says, “This is one doodle that can’t be undid, homeskillet.” The skillets on their menu came afterward, but are now one of the eatery’s most popular items. A small skillet is filled with perfectly-fried potatoes, eggs, and your choice of toppings. Homeskillet can’t be beat with its friendly service, colorful atmosphere, and ultimate comfort food.   KURUKURU SUSHI Japanese, Sushi 11 Bellwether Way, Bellingham 360.392.8224, KuruKuru Sushi, which translates to “go around Sushi,” offers not only a good meal, but a good experience as well. Along with the more traditional sushi, delicious lightly tempura-fried sushi also makes its way around the conveyor belt. If you don’t see something you like, the chefs behind the counter will gladly make something for you.   LEADER BLOCK WINE CO. & EATERY Italian

2026 Main St., Ferndale 360.306.8998, Leader Block pairs their extensive wine list with an Italian, from-scratch menu that emphasizes flavors of the region. This

upscale menu makes it a perfect spot for a date or special occasion, while the friendly Ferndale atmosphere and kids’ menu keeps it appropriate for family dinners as well.

114 Prospect St., Bellingham 360.392.8051, The short and sweet menu is described by owners as “new American comfort.” Comfort classics are woven in with nods to international flavors and technique. Saltine also offers a long list of European and American wines along with craft cocktails and local beer on tap.

THE MILL French 655 Front St., Lynden 360.778.2760, The Mill is the type of place where one could spend a full afternoon grazing on cheeses, sipping cocktails, and enjoying a good book. The bistro-like atmosphere gives the restaurant a European vibe without losing the welcoming small-town service of Lynden. The menu is full of bistro plates like fresh salads, paninis, soups, and, of course, meats and cheeses.   MUTO RAMEN & SUSHI Japanese, Sushi 105 E. Chestnut St., Bellingham, 360.647.3530 Muto Ramen does not disappoint for those looking for both atmosphere and flavor at a reasonable price. From udon noodles and yakitori to long lists of different ramen, sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri, guests can look forward to many visits of exploring the wide selection of Japanese dishes.   THE NORTH FORK BREWERY Eclectic, Bar 6186 Mount Baker Hwy., Deming 360.599.2337 Pizza and beer is a pairing that truly stands the test of time. At Deming’s long-running North Fork Brewery, which opened in December of 1997, the two remain as strong as ever. The North Fork’s brews are made in small batches by their longtime brewer and his custom draft system. The old-style pub feels homey and familiar, with quirky decorations like a glass wall encasing rows and rows of beer bottles. It’s a warm, inviting place to escape the biting temperatures outside.   SAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Food truck See for schedule and location 360.988.1800 If you haven’t yet heard of Sage Against the Machine, you will soon enough. Believed to be Bellingham’s first from-scratch, dairy-free, meat-free, and mostly gluten- and soy-free food truck, Sage Against the Machine has the power to convince the meatiest of meat-eaters that eating plant-based food can actually be enjoyable.

SALTINE New American


4876 Haxton Way, Ferndale 360.383.0777, This award-winning restaurant offers elegant dining and an intimate atmosphere. Prime-grade steaks are broiled at 1,800 degrees to lock in the natural juices and finished with a special steak butter. They also have an extensive wine list. This dining experience rivals any of the big-town steakhouses in quality and service without the big-city price tag.   TEMPLE BAR Bistro, Bar 306 W. Champion St.,Bellingham 360.676.8660, Continually recognized for their craft cocktails and small plates, Temple Bar aims to please. In between delicious bites made from locally sourced ingredients, sip on a unique cocktail with house-made infusions and bitters.   WAKE ‘N BAKERY American 6903 Bourne St., Glacier 360.599.1658, Wake ‘N Bakery is a staple rest stop along Mount Baker Highway. If you’re in need of a sweet treat and hot coffee to bring the feeling back to your numb fingers, this will fit the bill. Whether you’re traveling to or from the mountain, watch for its signs as you pass through Glacier — the cafe is about a block off the highway.

SKAGIT A’TOWN BISTRO Regional NW 418 Commercial Ave., Anacortes 360.899.4001, A’Town Bistro’s careful sourcing of ingredients, creative approach to food and drinks, and comfortable atmosphere are why it’s about to become your new go-to restaurant. Pair your meal with something off the ever-changing cocktail menu. Bitters, shrubs, and syrup are made in-house and the creative cocktails are

January 2020 85

Taste  Review

Rainbow Roll Bowl

Custom Bowl

More Than Just Poke New poke restaurant downtown appeals to the masses, with colorful bowls and delicious treats. BY LINDSEY MAJOR


UST POKE & VERVE BOWLS opened their new downtown Bellingham location in April 2019. The building, which used to house Benchmark Document Solutions, Inc., is now a trendy local eatery, with retro curved windows, teal armchairs, and a charcoal gray wall of decor. As you enter the restaurant, you’re met with the station where an employee will build your poke bowl. You can choose from a predetermined menu or build a completely customized bowl. If you’re in the mood for something fruitier, Just Poke isn’t actually just poke — they also serve acai bowls and smoothies. Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish of diced raw fish — typically tuna or salmon — served in a bowl, usually on top of rice. To complete the bowl, just add your selected toppings, such as crab salad, avocado, fruits, or sesame seeds. Imagine a deconstructed sushi roll in a bowl. If you’d rather order off the menu, Just Poke offers six items, including the Pike Place bowl and the Hawaiian Classic bowl. The Rainbow Roll bowl is a colorful concoction of ahi and salmon, served on a bed of sushi rice. On top of the 86

two proteins, you’ll find a dome of crab salad, a beautiful ring of watermelon radish, cucumber, citrus ponzu, and ginger. It’s a delicious journey from start to finish, with sauces, textures, and flavors all complementing one another. It’s also visually appealing; it might be the most beautiful dish of food I’ve ever seen. I also sampled a custom bowl, with the popular favorites tuna and spicy tuna. This mostly green bowl was topped with tempura crunchies, which provided a nice contrast to the soft fish. Just Poke has recently started serving miso soup for the colder months. As the poke bowls are served cold, store manager Nathan Spencer thought a warm soup might be a good addition — and it is. In addition to these menu items, Just Poke also offers unique beverages, like the Hawaiian Aloha Maid canned juices, and sweet Maui onion potato chips. They also serve San Pellegrino sparkling water. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, check out their case of chilled macarons. 201 E. Chestnut St., Bellingham, 360.922.3388, 

Dining Guide Taste composed by staff or sourced from a collection of vintage bartending books.  –

CHUCKANUT MANOR Pacific Northwest 3056 Chuckanut Dr., Bow 360.766.6191, Tucked along Samish Bay, Chuckanut Manor has been serving flavorful Pacific Northwest fare for more than 50 years. Open for lunch and dinner, including a daily happy hour from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., the restaurant is known for its mouthwatering seafood dishes, burgers, steaks, stellar service, and breathtaking views of Samish Bay. The dining room and bar are expansive and feature white tablecloths, nautical decor, and rows of windows that show off the magnificent views. In the summer, guests may also dine on the outdoor patio. While the tablecloths might allude to fancy attire, the vibe is casual and everyone is welcome just as they are.   DAD’S DINER A-GO-GO American 906 Commercial Ave., Anacortes 360.899.5269 Dad’s Diner A-Go-Go in Anacortes is the epitome of creative flavors and fun presentation. Add in the superior customer service in a comfortable, casual atmosphere, and it’s no wonder so many locals eat here weekly. The space is decorated with framed photos of dads, most of whom are local — an appreciation of their loyal fan base. Every edible item is a labor of love, just how Dad would make it at home.

Happiness, Hospitality, Home, Holiday Inn Fly in to Bellingham International Airport and walk to your suite! Holiday Inn & Suites - Bellingham 4260 Mitchell Way, Exit 258, Follow the airport signs • 360.746.6844

360.398.6191 • Open daily 6:30am to 11pm Locally sourced and sustainable fare highlighting the best of the Pacific Northwest

COA MEXICAN EATERY Mexican 102 S. 10th St., Mount Vernon, 360.840.1938 214 Maple Ave., La Conner, 360.466.0267 One bite of a taco or one sip of a margarita and you’re hooked. This eatery offers frequent customer appreciation days, offering 50 percent off food if you pay in cash. Deals and good food — what more could you want? Even on a different night, with the choice of fajitas, burritos, chimichangas, or flan, you won’t be disappointed.   GREEK ISLANDS RESTAURANT Greek 2001 Commercial Ave., Anacortes 360.293.6911, Some of the very best Greek food in our area comes from this versatile and excellent menu, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and glutenfree options. They serve both authentic food, such as classic gyro plates and spanakopita, while also mixing in American and seafood options, such as pork ribs and fish and chips.


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January 2020 87

Taste  Sip

Freshly Tapped Thousand Acre Cider House expands Bellingham’s cider scene BY LINDSEY MAJOR


ELLINGHAM’S NEWEST CIDER-INSPIRED TAPROOM opened in August 2019, and they’ve

been a hot-spot for cider lovers since. Thousand Acre Cider House, named after none other than Johnny Appleseed himself, has 24 taps, with 18 dedicated exclusively to cider. The remaining six are reserved for local beers, so non-cider fans can feel welcome, too. Of the 18 cider taps, about onethird are Bellingham-based; the remainder allow owners Jenny and James Hagemann to play with variety. You’ll find selections from across the Pacific Northwest — hello, 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis, you’ve got some big fans here — as well as the occasional pick from overseas (France’s take on cider is quite unique). The Hagemanns work hard to stay involved with the community, hosting three to four events per week, showcasing works from resident local artists, and promoting local beverages. All in all, there’s something uniquely Bellingham about this place.

CIDER UNIVERSITY Beginning with Cider 101, Cider University is an educational program designed to introduce newcomers to the world of cider. “We get to actually spend time with our customers, talking about cider’s history or cider’s taste profiles above and beyond ‘Oh, this is good,’” Jenny says. The new eightweek semester begins later this month. After the first class, you can find courses such as cheese pairing with Twin Sister Brewery, using cider in cocktails in place of spirits, and Meet-the-Maker lectures with guest speakers. Students aren’t required to attend each class, and each class is unique to itself. That said, there’s something new to be learned each week, and those looking to enroll for the whole semester may be given a break on tuition.

HEALTH FACTOR “James and I are both very careful not to advertise any sort of alcohol as a truly health-forward beverage, however, cider can definitely lend itself toward folks who are opting for a gluten-free lifestyle,” Jenny explains. And it’s true: Cider is made by the fermentation of apples (or other fruits) with sugar and natural, gluten-free yeast. If you’re someone who often feels full or bloated after a beer, you likely won’t with cider. Also, cider has fewer calories than most beers. “A dry cider actually lends itself more closely to the calorie count of a champagne versus a beer,” Jenny says. “A 10-ounce pour of a fully dry cider is probably going to set you back about 120 to 150 calories, in comparison to an IPA, which is double [the calories].” 109 Grand Ave. Ste. 101, Bellingham, 360.795.5400,  88

Dining Guide Taste


IL GRANAIO Italian 100 W. Montgomery St., Ste. 110 Mount Vernon 360.419.0674,


Owner Alberto Candivi gets up every morning to make some of the day’s pastas by hand, sculpting basic ingredients into the building blocks for lavish, rich Italian dishes served throughout the day. When the ingredients call for a lighter hand, his restaurant also turns out reserved, delicate dishes. Il Granaio is a practice in the intricacies of cuisine, displaying the best flavors Italian food has to offer. With more than 30 items on the entree menu, the list can be quite daunting — and the dessert menu is also impressive. The wine menu is also expansive, and the beer menu features several local craft brews. Their grappa selection does the Italian cordial the justice it deserves.

The following selections have made it past our taste bud test and into our top eight this issue. Step out and give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.

NORTHWATER Regional NW 4260 Mitchell Way, Bellingham 360.398.6191, From breakfast to late night dinner, northwater’s 185-seat restaurant features a diverse menu of Pacific Northwest dishes made from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant’s waitstaff is personable and enthusiastic — eager to answer our questions about ingredient sources and what desserts they’d recommend.   RISTRETTO COFFEE LOUNGE & WINE BAR American

416 1st St., Mount Vernon 360.336.0951, Ristretto doesn’t have a kitchen, but the baristas know their way around a panini press. You can also order breakfast all day, fresh salads, hearty bagels, or one of the baked goods brought in three times a week from nearby bakeries.   SAKURA JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI BAR Japanese


If you’re in the mood for a really good steak, head to Hotel Bellwether. There, in the Lighthouse Bar & Grill, you’ll find the Filet Mignon. With sautéed garlic gnocchi and amazing asparagus on the side, it’s a meal you won’t forget.

5 6


Bored of the winter blues? Coconut Kenny’s has you covered with their taste of Hawaiian paradise. I’m partial to the Boogie Board (add lettuce) but any of their sandwiches or pizzas will hit the spot.


Peruvian food is growing in popularity around the world and at Cafe Rumba it’s easy to see why. The cafe has a handful of authentic Peruvian sanguches, like the Peruano, with yam, avocado, mozzarella, tomato, and house-made sauce.



The Birch Door Cafe has a lunch menu but it’s the breakfast menu that really shines. You can’t go wrong with any of the offerings, but their Eggs Kory has my vote. Chopped bacon, cheddar cheese, and three eggs, all stacked on a toasted croissant and doused in a creamy mushroom sauce.


1830 S. Burlington Blvd., Burlington 360.588.4281, Professional Teppanyaki chefs take you on a journey of delicious and interactive dining at Burlington’s Sakura Japanese Steakhouse. Using the freshest ingredients and perfect seasonings, they stir-fry your meal right before your eyes, creating a fabulous feast. Choose from steak and chicken to salmon and shrimp; each meal is served with soup, salad, rice, and vegetables. If it’s sushi you crave, they also offer a full sushi bar.


Start your meal at B-Town Kitchen & Raw Bar with some delicious and shareable Wok Fried Chicken Bites. These tender pieces of chicken are coated in tamarind-lime BBQ sauce and served with pickles. Although 5 B’s Bakery in Concrete is known for its gluten-free baked goods, it also serves up a mean Andouille Hash. The semispicy sausage comes with plenty of veggies, a small side of fruit, and yummy gluten-free toast. Attention chocolate lovers: the Chocolate and Irish Cream Cupcake at Pure Bliss Desserts will make even your dreariest day feel brighter. The moist chocolate cake is topped with mouthwatering Irish cream frosting for a truly decadent treat. If you’re craving Italian, Pacioni’s Italian Restaurant and Lounge in downtown Mount Vernon serves up a wide variety of authentic Italian pizzas. The Il Verde is made with basil pesto, fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and ricotta cheese. THE EDITORIAL TEAM

January 2020 89

Taste  5 Faves


Robeks Craving an acaí bowl? Robeks has five different choices. Acaí Strawnana Berry has all the fruit you could ever want while the Nutty Acaí adds peanut butter to the classic bowl. Need some veggies? Go for the Green Bliss. 3110 Woburn St., Bellingham, 360.734.6363,





Big Love Juice Cowabunga! Surf bowls are here! You can choose from the Sup, Funk Lovin’, and Chair 6. Each bowl has a unique flair that will keep you coming back.

BBQ Bar & Grill • Smoked Meats • In-house & To Go Barkley Neighborhood • 1263 Barkley Blvd. • 360.306.3624 •

1149 N. State St., Bellingham, 360.383.5336,


Emerald City Smoothie Need a tropical sunrise to help wake you up? The Tropical Sunrise has acaí, mango, pineapple, strawberry, and coconut. 1058 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, 360.647.2357,


Salty Fox Coffee Looking for something to tame that sweet tooth? The Buzz Bowl adds cacao nibs to acaí, bananas, and coconut flakes. 85 Front St.,


San Juan Island, 360.622.2486,


Vitality Bowls Try one of their seasonal bowl options or treat yourself to a Dessert Bowl after a long week. Whatever your mood, Vitality Bowls has an acaí bowl for you. 3011 Cinema Pl. Ste. 101, Bellingham, 360.389.5561,

We’re in business for 16 years and growing. Our Regulars making an excellent choice by choosing Asian 1 when they dine out. Unlike others, we are proud to purchase non-frozen meat and vegetables, hand cut & prepared daily. No added Preservatives or MSG, and all the fat is trimmed from the skinless chicken breast, pork, and beef. Our food is made fresh to order. We make our sauces from scratch. We spend more money on labor and fresh nutritious ingredients to ensure your health, good taste, overall satisfaction AND return visits. THANK YOU TO ALL!

Please visit our website below to know more about us.

www.Asian1.Net 4285 Meridian St. Bellingham, WA 1(360) 752-2422

January 2020 91

SEEDS BISTRO AND BAR American 623 Morris St., La Conner 360.466.3280,

Galloway’s Cocktail Bar

From soups to sandwiches, salads (or “weeds” as they call them), and bigger entree options, Seeds Bistro and Bar has something for everyone. Try an order of shucked oysters or one of the seasonal pasta dishes made with fresh pasta.

Winter Cardinal

Ingredients: house-infused cranberry tequila, organic lime, house cranberry syrup, house lime cordial, black lava salt, $11

SHAMBALA BAKERY & BISTRO American 614 S. 1st Ave., Mount Vernon 360.588.6600, Crack open Shambala Bakery and Bistro’s menu to find all-day breakfast options and an array of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and lighter fare items such as quiche and soup. Their daily specials take advantage of what’s in season.   SKAGIT RIVER BREWERY American 404 S. 3rd St., Mount Vernon 360.336.2884, Made with Yakima Valley hops and Northwest barley and wheat, Skagit River Brewery produces the finest beers with distinguishable tastes. Seasonal beers also appear on the menu for locals to try something new. To complement the beers and non-alcoholic drinks, the brewery also prides itself on its selection of foods from wood-fired pizza to house-smoked ribs. Beer brings people together. At least it’s proven so at Skagit River Brewery.

© Katheryn Moran



ade tropical with lime and the option to be served slushy-style, margaritas are the perfect beverage for the warmer months. But what about winter? When the temperatures drop and the sun sets early, it’s harder to find your fiesta mood. Galloway’s, however, has created a simple solution. The Winter Cardinal is a seasonal take on the margarita. Served in a short rambler glass, the drink starts with a base of house-infused cranberry tequila. From there, the excellent bar staff shakes the mixture of organic lime juice, cranberry syrup, and lime 92

cordial. Before pouring the drink over ice, the glass is rimmed with Hawaiian black lava salt. At first sip, you’ll find familiar margarita flavors: lime and tequila. As you venture deeper into the glass, you’ll taste the cranberry, which provides a fruity but nottoo-sweet addition. Try taking a sip from the glass sans straw: The smokiness of the lava salt cuts the drink’s fruit flavors. For me, this drink in the perfect way to round out the holidays. 1200 10th St., Ste. 102, Bellingham, 360.756.2795, LINDSEY MAJOR

902 Commercial Ave., Anacortes 360.873.8245, Patrons can get the perfect-size dish in a flavor profile to satisfy any craving. With plenty of beers on rotation, there’s the basics plus a surprise or two. Cocktails are another highlight — you won’t find Red Bull vodkas or overly sweetened Mai Tais here. The staff uses fresh juice, quality spirits, and house-made sours and grenadine. Staffers are encouraged to create their own cocktails, and the tastiest concoctions get a place on the menu.   VAGABOND STATION Southern 2120 Commercial Ave., Anacortes 360.421.4227, Vagabond Station is known for its mostly Southern-style menu with a few curveballs. Dig into a prime rib sandwich, a meat-lover’s dream that is difficult to find in this day of well-done meat. Try a bowl of Vagabond Chili, the Santa Fe cornbread, or a wiscuit — biscuit dough cooked in a waffle maker. Of course, there’s crispy fried chicken and waffles, and their signature sandwich, the Yard Bird: chicken, cheddar cheese, and gravy piled onto a fresh, fluffy biscuit.

Dining Guide Taste

SAN JUAN CAPTAIN WHIDBEY INN American 2072 Captain Whidbey Inn Rd., Coupeville 360.678.4097, The entire menu features down-to-earth items that are reasonably priced, locally sourced, and well-balanced. While the inn does serve as a special-occasion spot, folks dressed in shorts and a T-shirt are also welcomed. Built in 1907, Captain Whidbey Inn is a historical gem.   DOE BAY CAFÉ American 107 Doe Bay Rd., Olga 360.376.8059, Whether you’re heading toward the San Juan Islands or don’t mind taking a trip for an unbelievable meal, be sure to make reservations at the ever-popular Doe Bay Café. Owners Joe and Maureen Brotherton have stuck to their mission of providing world-class seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Culinary Events Pasta: The Basics & Beyond January 3, 5 p.m. Tired of feeling like an impasta in the kitchen? Worry no more! Learn how to handcraft the perfect noodle dish, from penne to spaghetti to rigatoni. If you’re not a lasagna lover, The Bread Lab offers a variety of delicious cooking classes all month long. The Bread Lab 11768 Westar Ln., Burlington

Paella Night FRIDAY HARBOR HOUSE Regional NW 130 West St., Friday Harbor 360.378.8455, It’s hard to beat the view of the ferry landing, marina, and San Juan Channel from Friday Harbor House — the hotel and restaurant provide a sweeping panorama of water and sky. In addition to the delicious food menu, Friday Harbor House is one of the few island restaurants to offer a full bar at brunch every day of the week.   PRIMA BISTRO French 201 1/2 First St., Langley 360.221.4060, A quintessential South Whidbey dining ­experience in the heart of Langley, Prima Bistro marries gourmet French cuisine and classic Northwest ingredients. The selection of red and white wines offers options for connoisseurs of every stripe, along with a full bar. For fabulous food, elegant ambience, and world-class views, be sure to visit Prima on your next visit to Whidbey Island.   SALTY FOX COFFEE American 85 Front St., Friday Harbor 360.622.2486, When owner Andrea Hampton put together her coffee shop’s food menu, she worked hard to create items that were easy to make, but still healthy and satisfying. She wanted to be able to serve ferry riders on a time schedule, along with locals who come in for breakfast or lunch. Guests can take anything to go, including sealed wine and beer, much of which is locally made on the island.

January 9, 5:30 p.m. To experience a Spanish dish with a local twist, head down to Old World Deli for this month’s paella special: a helping of squid ink paella with prawns, clams, mussels, and calamari. Served family-style, this dinner is sure to satisfy all seafood lovers. Old World Deli 1228 N. State St., Bellingham

Knife Skills January 21, 5:30 p.m. Sharpen your knife skills at this cutting-edge course. Bring or borrow your favorite chef’s knife and get a slice of the fundamentals, including safety, mechanics, maintenance, and techniques. Participants get a discount on blades afterward, so don’t miss out on this knife-changing opportunity. Ciao Thyme Commons 207 Unity St., Bellingham

Baking with Bruno January 27, 6:30 p.m.

VINNY’S RISTORANTE Seafood 165 West St., Friday Harbor 360.378.1934, Ciao! Vinny’s welcomes diners to their Friday Harbor Ristorante, mirroring the feel of this warm Italian restaurant. Dishes change monthly and reflect the desire to serve simple, gourmet Pacific Northwest seafood and modern comfort Italian. As well as a good selection of pastas, Vinny’s has seafood and meat entrees, many of them traditional favorites. The cocktail list includes the classics, along with some fun offerings.

Chef Bruno Feldstein is a judge on “The Great Candian Baking show” and was named one of the top ten pastry chefs in America by Chocolatier Magazine — twice. Bake with the best as you learn three recipes from his new cookbook: Japanese Cheesecake, Maple Sugar Loaf Cake, and Flourless Almond Chocolate Cake. Downtown Community Food Co-op 1220 N. Forest St., Bellingham January 2020 93

Taste  Recipe



Makes 4 servings T’S A NEW YEAR, a new decade, and often the time

many of us are pondering a fresh start with our health and seeking more balance in our lives. As a holistic nutrition and mindset coach, I’ve learned that balance doesn’t mean perfection. Balance is the art of setting reasonable expectations that you can actually achieve, and then building on them. There are two reasons for this. One is that, when we start small, we set ourselves up to actually meet our goals. The second is that when we meet our goals, we prove to ourselves that we can trust ourselves and can follow through on what we say we will do. This is huge! So often the “failure mindset” is what stops us in our tracks; we plan for perfection and then beat ourselves up for “getting off the wagon.” We convince ourselves we’ll never be able to make the changes we seek, so we might as well just quit or start the diet again next week, right? Instead of launching off on some uber-strict diet that relies on willpower alone, try an 80/20 or 70/30 diet, where 70-80% of what you eat is nourishing, and 20-30% of what you eat is what I call “fun food.” Get really solid at that, prove to yourself you can follow through on what you say you’ll do, and then consider adding on. I like to think about food choices in terms of abundance, rather than restriction. Instead of less this, or no that, try focusing on what you get more of: fresh, delicious goodness, like this Deconstructed Spring Roll Bowl. This nourishing bowl is full of nutrients and flavor, and is ready in less than 30 minutes. 94


4 cups mixed greens ½ small head red cabbage, chopped thin 4 carrots, shredded 2 avocados, cubed 4 green onions, chopped ¼ cup cilantro, chopped 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (optional) 1 lime, sliced

Peanut Sauce ½ cup unsweetened sunflower butter (can substitute peanut or almond butter) 2 dates, soaked in warm water until soft (10–15 min) ½ cup date soaking water 1 teaspoon chili sauce 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 1 small clove garlic 1 teaspoon minced ginger • Place all sauce ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You can add more of the date water if it’s too thick. • Place salad greens into bowls. • Top with red cabbage, carrots, green onions, and avocado. Drizzle the peanut sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and black sesame seeds. Top with a squeeze of lime. 

The Scene Notes

Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees For more than 30 years, Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation has hosted its annual Festival of Trees. The 31st festival took place over Thanksgiving weekend and raised a record-breaking $382,000 for the Foundation’s Women’s Imaging Center Capital Campaign. The festival kicked off with a “Rockin’ at the North Pole” breakfast with Santa, where nearly 300 kids enjoyed a breakfast buffet, dance party, face-painting by Beautiful Face Painting of Bellingham, and a special toy from Mr. Claus himself. The festival continued with Family Festival Days before culminating in a gala. More than 600 people attended this year’s gala, which featured a live auction and raffle. The highlights of the night were the two dozen extravagantly decorated Christmas trees, all up for auction. BECKY MANDELBAUM

January 2020 95

Notes  Lasting Image

No machines, no noise Nothing to interfere With the wind Silent, invisible It speaks to us The trees serving As its interpreter

Photo © Don Davidson


North Sound photographers, we want to see what you’ve got. We’re looking for locally generated photographs for our Lasting Image feature. We’re seeking local nature photographs — ones that freeze a moment, tell a story, evoke an emotion. We’ll run your photo, along with your name, where you’re from, where the photo was shot, and a short 40-word write-up about the photo (inspiration for it, how you got it, meaning behind it, etc.). The photo must be high resolution (300 dpi) with no watermarks. Send to Then sit back and enjoy the view.


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